STOCKHOLM, Sweden – Prosecutors on Wednesday charged three men under Sweden's anti-terror laws for a botched firebombing targeting Iraqi expatriate voters and for allegedly planning another attack against an Israel-friendly Christian congregation.
The men, ages 25, 22 and 19, were arrested a month after the Dec. 15 attack on a polling station where Iraqis were voting in Kista, just north of Stockholm. The 25-year-old has since been released.
Prosecutors say the 22-year-old hurled molotov cocktails at the polling station, but they did not catch fire. The 25-year-old allegedly took part in preparing the attack by distributing a news release describing it.
The three suspects, who lived in separate parts of Sweden, had been in contact via Internet chat rooms, where they discussed another attack, prosecutors said in the charges.
Investigators searching the suspects' homes found photographs of the World of Life Church in Uppsala, north of Stockholm. They also found a video with instructions on how to make explosives, and a film in which the 19-year-old expressed sympathy for Islamic holy war and "warned the European people," the charges said.
Magnus Dahlberg, a spokesman for the World of Life Church, said they were notified of the planned attack by security police last month.
"We were told the motive was that we support Israel and have been visited by Israel's ambassador," Dahlberg said.
The church is charismatic, and considered a fundamentalist congregation in Sweden. It counts about 3,000 members.
The 19-year-old denies the terror allegations, his defense lawyer, Mikael Nilsson said, adding that the charges against his client were vague. The charges said he was planning an attack with the other two suspects, but did not specify whether it was against the church.
The teenager admits to recording the video with a warning to Europeans, but says it was not meant to be taken seriously, Nilsson said.
"It has no basis in reality," Nilsson added.
The defense lawyers for the other two suspects were not immediately available for comment.