Irish Police Arrest 7 Over Plot to Kill Swedish Artist
Al-Qaeda placed bounty on Lars Vilks over Muhammad drawing
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 9, 2010 12:50 PM CST
Lars Vilks in 2007. He has been in hiding ever since.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Irish police arrested seven people today over an alleged plot to kill a Swedish artist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog. Officials say the suspects are foreign-born Irish residents, mostly from Yemen and Morocco, who had been under surveillance since November and were identified based on intelligence intercepts of emails and telephone calls.

The alleged target of the murder conspiracy, Lars Vilks, tells the AP he believes the arrests are linked to two telephone death threats he received in January over one of his drawings published in a Swedish newspaper in August 2007. After publication, al-Qaeda in Iraq announced a $100,000 bounty for Vilks' assassination. The four men and three women were detained on Ireland's south coast, and can be interrogated for up to a week before being charged or released under Irish anti-terrorist law.