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Sweden probes 'arson attack' on Shia mosque

AFP , Monday 1 May 2017
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Sweden's largest Shia Muslim mosque was badly damaged overnight in a suspected arson attack, police said Monday, adding later that they had made one arrest in connection with the incident.

Fire and emergency services were alerted to the scene a little before 12:30 am (2230 GMT) Monday, where "flames were engulfing the outer facade" of the Imam Ali Islamic Centre in the northern Stockholm suburb of Jakobsberg, a police spokesman said.

No injuries were reported.

"A man who earlier in the day had been arrested and was scheduled for a hearing, was, after interrogation, taken into custody," police said in a statement.

However, they released no information on the man's identity or possible motive.

"This is Sweden's largest Shia mosque with thousands of faithful... They are really concerned," mosque spokesman Akil Zahari told broadcaster SVT.

Several mosques in Sweden have been the target of arson attacks in recent years but few of the perpetrators have been caught.

In April last year, a 31-year-old man identified through CCTV footage was jailed for three years for racially-aggravated arson after admitting setting fire to a mosque in the southwestern town of Boras.

Swedish anti-racism campaigners protested in January 2015 after a trio of arson attacks on mosques in the Nordic country.

In Stockholm, residents are still coming to terms with an April 7 truck attack which killed five people, including an 11-year-old Swedish girl, a Briton, and one Belgian. Fifteen others were injured.

An Uzbek national confessed to using a stolen truck to mow down pedestrians on a busy shopping street in a rampage similar to attacks in Nice, Berlin and London.

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