23:21 GMT +315 November 2019
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    In this undated file photo released by a militant website, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, militants of the Islamic State group hold up their weapons and wave its flags on their vehicles in a convoy on a road leading to Iraq, while riding in Raqqa city in Syria

    Meet the Jeep-hadis: Militant Swedes Drive to Syria in Luxury 4X4s

    © AP Photo / Militant website via AP, File
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    Swedish off-road vehicles have found their way to Syria, where Daesh terrorists use them to carry rocket launchers and other equipment; such cars are a status symbol in the organization.

    Though the Swedish government has announced tough new measures against Swedish citizens who travel abroad or prepare to travel abroad to commit terrorist acts, some of those who have made their way to Syria managed to drive there in expensive off-road vehicles, the Swedish press reported on Wednesday.

    The Swedish police suspect jihadis of stealing cars in Sweden or even taking out credit to buy them; two Swedish cars were recently found at the Turkish border.

    "It's all about high-powered four-wheel drive cars that they use for rocket launchers, or carry people and equipment," Niclas Larsen, from Stockholm police's fraud department, told Sweden's TT news service.

    "We have had cases where we suspect that people take out credit to buy cars in Sweden, and subsequently disappear, perhaps to the Middle East."

    Terror researcher Magnus Ranstorp said that the practice has been going on for some time, encouraged by the porous border between Turkey and Syria.

    "It is suspected that this has been going on for a while, and it was probably easier to get over by car when the border was open between Syria and Turkey," said Ranstorp.

    "If you come down with a car, you get higher status. It is an important part of IS (Daesh) operations," said the expert.

    The news comes as the Swedish government announced a crackdown on Swedish nationals who support Daesh. On Wednesday Dagens Nyheter reported proposed new legislation to punish those who participate in terrorist training with up to two years in prison, and up to six years for a serious offense. Those found guilty of financing terrorism will also face prison under the new law.

    The legislation will be implemented along with secret surveillance, phone tapping and telecommunications surveillance, in order to identify potential terrorists, Justice Minister Morgan Johansson told TT.

    According to Dagens Nyheter, around 300 Swedish nationals are thought to have traveled to Iraq and Syria to fight for Daesh, about 120 of whom have returned to Sweden.


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