Uzbekistan says told West that Stockholm attack suspect was IS recruit

People lay flowers near the crime scene at Ahlens department store at the pedestrian street Drottninggatan in central Stockholm, Sweden, April 12, 2017. TT NEWS AGENCY/ Fredrik Sandberg via REUTERS

TASHKENT (Reuters) - Uzbekistan’s security services warned a western ally before last week’s deadly truck attack in Stockholm that the suspected perpetrator was an Islamic State recruit, Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov said on Friday.

Kamilov told reporters that Rakhmat Akilov had been recruited by the jihadist group after he left the Central Asian nation in 2014 and settled in Sweden.

“According to the information that we have, he actively urged his compatriots to travel to Syria in order to fight at Islamic State’s side,” Kamilov said, adding that Akilov had used online messaging services.

“Earlier (before the attack), information on Akilov’s criminal actions had been passed by security services to one of our Western partners so that the Swedish side could be informed.”

Kamilov did not identify the intermediary country or organization.

A spokesman for Sweden’s security police declined to comment on Kamilov’s statement. The police said last week they had intelligence on Akilov in 2016 that they could not verify.

An Uzbek security source said on Wednesday that Akilov had tried to travel to Syria in 2015 to join IS but was detained at the Turkish-Syrian border and deported back to Sweden.

The source added that Uzbekistan authorities had in February put him on a wanted list of people suspected of religious extremism.

Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov; Additional reporting by Bjorn Rundstrom in Stockholm; Writing by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Katya Golubkova and John Stonestreet