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Uzbekistan says info on truck attack suspect sent to Sweden

Associated Press logo Associated Press 14/04/2017
People look at the flowers left near the Ahlens department store in central Stockholm on Wednesday April 12, 2017. Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek man, has pleaded guilty to a terrorist crime after ramming a stolen beer truck into the crowd of afternoon shoppers outside the upmarket Ahlens store on Friday. (Fredrik Sandberg/TT via AP) © The Associated Press People look at the flowers left near the Ahlens department store in central Stockholm on Wednesday April 12, 2017. Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek man, has pleaded guilty to a terrorist crime after ramming a stolen beer truck into the crowd of afternoon shoppers outside the upmarket Ahlens store on Friday. (Fredrik Sandberg/TT via AP)

MOSCOW — Uzbekistan's foreign minister says the Central Asian country has provided information about the Uzbek man alleged to have killed four people when he drove a truck into a crowd in the center of the Swedish capital.

Foreign Affairs Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov says the suspect, Rakhmat Akilov, had been recruited by the Islamic State group while in Sweden, where he had lived since 2014.

The UzDaily news portal quoted Kamilov on Friday as saying that information on the suspect was given "to one of our Western partners" for transmission to Sweden. The portal did not say when the information was sent.

Reports this week said Uzbekistan had opened a criminal case against the 39-year-old Akilov for extremist connections.

While the Swedish security police declined to comment on Kamilov's statement Friday, the Nordic country's foreign ministry told news agency TT that it had never received the information to which the Uzbekistan minister referred.

Some Swedish media reports assessed Kamilov's comments as an attempt to use the April 7 attack in Stockholm for its own propaganda aims.

Swedish Defense University terrorism researcher Magnus Ranstorp said the credibility of any information that might come from the Uzbek government would be in doubt.

"You always have to be skeptical over such information that comes from authoritarian or repressive regimes," Ranstorp told Sweden's Aftonbladet newspaper.

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