Swedish suicide bomber Taimour Abdulwahab, after his death.
The suicide bomber who attempted to kill people in a failed attack in Stockholm trained in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul along with an Egyptian, according to Iraqi officials.
Taimour Abdulwahab, who killed only himself as his suicide vest detonated prematurely on the streets of Stockholm on Dec. 11, 2010, “trained in Mosul for three months,” according to General Dhai Kanani, the chief of Iraq’s counterterrorism unit. A car bomb assembled by Abdulwahab was also found near the site of his death.
Abdulwahab “entered Iraq from Turkey,” Kanani told Al Arabiya, at about the same time as an Egyptian who is thought to have trained for a similar attack.
“An Egyptian national entered Iraq at the same time and received similar training to probably carry out another mission,” Kanani said.
In an email sent to Swedish authorities just minutes before the failed attack, Abdulwahab had admitted to traveling to the Middle East to conduct training.
“I never went to the Middle East to work or earn money,” his email stated. “I went there for Jihad.”
Mosul is one of al Qaeda in Iraq’s remaining strongholds in the country. Al Qaeda in Iraq has maintained a robust network in and around the city despite multiple US and Iraqi offensives in northern Iraq. The city’s close proximity to Syria, which serves as a safe haven for al Qaeda in Iraq, is a major factor in the terror group’s resiliency in the Iraqi north.
Iraqi intelligence said that the information on Abdulwahab and the unnamed Egyptian was obtained during the interrogation of an al Qaeda in Iraq operative months ago, and that Iraq had warned the US of an impending attack “in the United States, Europe, or Britain.”
“Iraq had information on bombings in Sweden, which it informed the Americans about before the bombing in Sweden by more than two months,” Kanani said.
US and European intelligence officials have been on edge while working to disrupt al Qaeda plots aimed at Europe and the US hatched from Pakistan, Yemen, and Iraq.
Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed credit for the failed suicide attack in Sweden and has threatened more strikes unless NATO countries “withdraw their troops from Afghanistan immediately and unconditionally,” and “stop their war against Islam.”
Al Qaeda in Iraq also claimed credit for the New Year’s Day suicide attack at a Coptic church in Alexandria, Egypt, that killed 23 people. It is unknown if the Egyptian who trained in Mosul at the same time as Abdulwahab was responsible for the Alexandria attack.
“We’re exploring the possibility of a connection,” a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal.
- Stockholm bomber trained in Iraq: official, The Local
- Stockholm suicide bomber aspired to jihad, The Long War Journal
- Stockholm bomber was trained in Iraq, says official, Reuters
- Swedish blasts only the beginning – Qaeda, News24
Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal.