Stockholm attacker Rahmat Akilov ‘radicalised’ in Turkey

Rahmat Akilov after the attack.

The Stockholm attacker, Rakhmat Akilov, who killed four people after driving a lorry into a department store last week, was radicalised in Turkey, Swedish media reported.

The 39-year-old Uzbek national, who visited Turkey frequently moved to the country in 2012 due to his wife’s business dealings and formed ties with extremist religious groups, the Radio Free Europe reported. According to the Uzbek Ministry of Defence the attacker tried to cross into Syria in 2015 but was deported to Sweden by Turkish authorities.

A close acquaintance of the attacker told Radio Sweden that Akilov “did not know how to pray properly the first time he went to a mosque in Sweden. I heard him say, ‘Our Muslim brothers in Syria are doing the right thing. They are saving the lives of muslims.'”

The acquaintance added that Akilov was not very knowledgable about Islam nor pious, but he expressed an affinity for the Islamic State and advocated violent extremism.

Akilov pleaded guilty to the offence in his first court appearance.