Swede held for ‘al-Qaeda ties’

A 23-year old Swedish citizen is in custody in France for suspected ties to a group linked with al-Qaeda.

The man was arrested by French police on February 1st on his way back to Sweden.

Sweden’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed the arrest and tells the newspaper that the embassy is awaiting permission to visit the man.

The man is believed to be associated with the “Gergis cell,” a terror cell created in 2006 consisting of young men from the Tunisian port town of Gergis.

The 23-year old later landed in Somalia, where he is said to have fought for the Islamic Courts Union, which has links to al-Qaeda.

Following the Ethiopian army’s invasion of Somalia in early 2007, the man first fled to the jungle between Somalia and Kenya.

He eventually ended up in Yemen, where he was able to get a new passport with help from a friend working in Sweden’s embassy in Saudia Arabia, allowing him to return to Sweden.

“Some of my friends who sat in prison in Ethiopia told me that the American army thinks I’m a big fish who has important information about foreign fighters in Somalia,” the man said earlier to an Islamic news forum in Gothenburg.