The Facebook page of Moder Mothanna Magid, the 22-year-old Iraqi interrogated at midday on Saturday by Sweden’s security police Säpo, certainly does not look like that of a terrorist on the run.
He regularly ‘checks in’, publicly revealing his locations in northern Sweden, including at the asylum accommodation where he was arrested, he shows pictures of a man, perhaps himself, cuddling a woman, and posts about his longing for love.
Also, while Swedish police appear to have used a grainy and indistinct photo during their manhunt, Magid’s Facebook page openly displays much clearer ones.
“There are a number of things that niggle,” terror expert Magnus Norell told Expressen newspaper. “This individual was the reason that the threat level was raised from three to four, so presumably he is suspected of planning quite a serious deed. That makes it a bit strange that he was not trying to hide.”
He also pointed out that according to Magid’s Facebook page, he had been living in Sweden since September, contradicting the Swedish police’s initial information was that the terror suspect had recently arrived from Germany.
“I find it hard to see that he should be so dangerous if he is at home in his apartment with his name on the door.”
Magid’s mother on Friday told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper that the arrest of her son was a “misunderstanding”, adding that she had been so shocked when she heard of it that she had been briefly hospitalised.
“It was because of Daesh [ISIS] that he fled,” she told the newspaper. “My son has nothing to do with Daesh.”
Magid was arrested on Thursday night in a police operation at asylum accommodation in the northern town of Boliden, after a two-day manhunt, which saw his picture and name published in Sweden’s leading tabloid newspapers.
Swedish prime minister Stefan Löfven on Thursday night praised the country’s police and security forces for quickly tracking down the suspect.
“I am impressed by the speed with which the suspect has been found and arrested,” he said.
However, Magnus Ranstorp, arguably Sweden’s leading terror expert, also from the National Defence College, said that it was too early to draw conclusions from Magid’s strangely open behaviour.
“Sometimes it can be better to be open than hidden,” he said. “If he was wanted it wouldn’t be so smart, but if he had no reason to believe he was on anyone’s radar, than he wouldn’t have any reason to hide himself.”