Two to appear in court in connection with cartoonist murder plot

Two people arrested over an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist will appear in court today to have their periods of detention extended.

Two people arrested over an alleged plot to murder a Swedish cartoonist will appear in court today to have their periods of detention extended.

Three men, their wives and one other man were detained in the south east of the country for suspected involvement in an international plot to murder Lars Vilks, who controversially depicted the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog.

A private hearing will be held at Waterford District Court where gardaí are applying to have two of the group’s detention periods extended further.

The other five suspects appeared for a closed court hearing last night and can now be held for a further 72 hours of questioning.

The group of seven Muslims were detained in a series of raids by anti-terrorist units acting on intelligence from the CIA, FBI and European agencies.

Some of those arrested were originally from Algeria, Libya, the United States and Palestine and have been legally in Ireland for up to 10 years.

They were allegedly involved in an international plot to kill Mr Vilks, whose depictions of the Muslim prophet were printed in the Nerikes Allehanda newspaper in August 2007.

Islamic terrorist group al Qaida put a $100,000 (€74,000) bounty on the cartoonist’s head, forcing him into police protection in an isolated area of Sweden.

Senior gardaí do not believe those arrested are members of the terrorist group and stressed there was no threat to Irish security.

It is understood at least one of the suspects is a naturalised Irish citizen while a number of others have attempted to claim asylum.

Three men and two women were arrested in Waterford city and Tramore and a man and a woman in Ballincollig, Cork.

They range in age from mid-20s to late 40s and were detained under Section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act 2007 at Waterford, Tramore, Dungarvan and Thomastown garda stations.

Mobile phones, personal documents, computers and discs were seized in raids on homes during the arrests.

It is understood some of those arrested were converts to Islam.

The operation was supported by members of the Garda National Support Services and the Republic’s anti-terrorist Special Detective Unit.

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