MAY 16 2010 18:46h

Two arrested after attack on Swedish cartoonist's home

Swedish artist Lars Vilks is pictured near burn stains in his kitchen at his home outside of Hoganas on May 16, 2010. Police arrested two suspects after an attempted fire-bomb attack on the home of a Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks, controversial for drawing the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, they said today. Both suspects, aged 21 and 19, are Swedish nationals of Kosovar origin, from the southern city of Landskrona, and have been detained after personal items were found near the scene.

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Police arrested two suspects after an attempted fire-bomb attack on the home of a Swedish cartoonist, controversial for drawing the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog, they said Sunday.

The attack, overnight Friday to Saturday when Lars Vilks was not at home, blackened part of the exterior, but the fire went out by itself although police found glass bottles containing petrol (gasoline) inside.

Both suspects, aged 21 and 19, are Swedish nationals of Kosovar origin who reside in the southern city of Landskrona and who were arrested after personal items were found near the scene, police said.

"They were both unknown to the police," Scania district police spokesman Calle Paersson told AFP.

The 21-year-old was arrested on Saturday at his home, while his 19-year-old suspected accomplice was arrested Sunday morning.

The suspects, whose names have not been made public, were due to see a judge on Monday who will decide whether or not to charge them.

Vilks told AFP he did not want to over-react, but he would take some precautions. The attack comes less then a week after a man headbutted him while he was giving a lecture at Uppsala university.

"I'll have to have a hide away for some time, which I think is reasonable ... I can probably go in the house during daytime, but I'll have to sleep somewhere else.

"We have to see if it's possible to install an alarm or something ... I shouldn't be paranoid. This could be a one-off occasion," he added.

In 2007, Swedish regional daily Nerikes Allehanda published Vilks' satirical cartoon to illustrate an editorial on the importance of freedom of expression.

The cartoon prompted protests by Muslims in the town of Oerebro, west of Stockholm, where the newspaper is based, while Egypt, Iran and Pakistan made formal complaints.

An Al-Qaeda front organisation then offered 100,000 dollars to anyone who murdered Vilks -- with an extra 50,000 if his throat was slit -- and 50,000 dollars for the death of Nerikes Allehanda editor-in-chief Ulf Johansson.

Four men and three women, all Muslims originally from Morocco and Yemen, were arrested in southern Ireland in March over an alleged plot to assassinate him.