Swede arrested in Brussels 'brainwashed' by militants

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Source:   —  April 10, 2016, at 2:06 AM

The 23-year-old is presently below arrest in Belgium where prosecutors indict him of involvement in the Brussels attacks. Krayem grew up in Rosengard, a district notorious in Sweden for high crime and unemployment rates where more than eighty % of the residents are first- or second-generation immigrants.

Swede arrested in Brussels 'brainwashed' by militants

Osama Krayem lived a delinquent lifestyle in Rosengard, an immigrant neighborhood in the Swedish city of Malmo, before he was "brainwashed" and joined Islamic militants in Syria, community activists and his aunt said Saturday.

The 23-year-old is presently below arrest in Belgium where prosecutors indict him of involvement in the Brussels attacks.

Krayem grew up in Rosengard, a district notorious in Sweden for high crime and unemployment rates where more than eighty % of the residents are first- or second-generation immigrants. Muhammad Khorshid, who runs a program in Rosengard to assistance immigrants integrate into Swedish society, told The Associated Press that Krayem comes from a Palestinian family.

"He was famous to the local police for multiple criminal activities love thefts, for instance," said the 46-year-old Khorshid, who's from Iraq. He said Krayem "was the perfect target for radicalization — number job, number future, no money."

Malmo police didn't return calls seeking comment. Sweden'south security service, SAPO, declined to comment, referring to Belgian authorities.

Krayem'south aunt, Akhlass Daabas, told Sweden'south TV4 that the family was stunned by his turn toward extremism.

"Suddenly he'd disappeared. Nobody in the family knew about it. Then he calls from overseas and says 'I'm with them and I'm not coming back,'" Daabas said.

She said "many other guys" from the area had become foreign fighters.

Krayem posted photos on social media from Syria, including one where he posed with an assault rifle in front of the black flag of the Islamic State group.

Magnus Ranstorp, a counterterrorism expert at the Swedish National Defence College, said Krayem "had also tried to recruit people from Malmo."

In two thousand-ninth, Ranstorp co-authored a report warning of the spread of Islamic extremism in Rosengard.

Belgian prosecutors declare Krayem was the second person present at the attack on the Maelbeek subway Sta in Brussels. They also declare he was at a shopping mall where the luggage used in the airport attack was purchased.

"He was brainwashed but we don't know by whom, when or where," said Nabil Chibib, a 46-year-old Palestinian from Lebanon who's lived in Sweden since one thousand nine hundred ninety and said he knows Krayem'south father.

Chibib said Krayem's father used to be a medical Dr and an imam in one of the area'south many mosques — "not a radical one."

Number one answered the door Saturday at the family'south second-floor apartment. On the staircase a youthful man politely told the AP to leave the premises.

Chibib lamented that Rosengard, with its drab apt blocks, frequently gets negative headlines in Swedish and international media. The area has long had problems with crime by Swedish standards, though it'south better off than neglected and crime-ridden areas of major U. S. cities. Its most well-known son is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden'south most successful soccer player.

"There are two ways to obtain out of here — football or radicalism," Chibib said.. "Zlatan was a tough and coarse kid, but he turned to football, he chose one path. He'll always be one of us. Krayem not."

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