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7 arrested in Ireland over Swedish cartoonist plot

world Updated: Mar 09, 2010 21:40 IST

Police in Ireland on Tuesday arrested seven people over an alleged plot to kill a Swedish cartoonist who depicted the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.

Irish police said four men and three women were detained in raids across the south of the country.

The force says the arrests were part of an investigation into a "conspiracy to murder an individual in another jurisdiction." The force offered the statement in response to a question about Lars Vilks, whom Britain's Press Association news agency identified as the target.

Police said the suspects were aged from their mid-20s to their late 40s. It did not identify their nationality.

Police say the investigation involved law enforcement agencies in the US and several European countries.

Al-Qaida in Iraq put a $100,000 bounty on Vilks' head after a Swedish newspaper ran his picture of Muhammad's head on a dog's body in 2007. He was put under police protection and moved to a secret location in Sweden.

Islamic law generally opposes any depiction of the prophet, even favorable, for fear it could lead to idolatry.

Vilks is not the first cartoonist to have received death threats for drawings of the prophet.

Kurt Westergaard, a Danish cartoonist who in 2005 depicted Muhammad wearing a bomb-shaped turban, also received death threats. In January, a Somali man was arrested after breaking into his home in western Denmark armed with an axe.