Artist who drew Muhammad killed in mystery crash after surviving murder attempts

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A controversial artist who survived two attempted murders has died inside a police car.

Lars Vilks, 75, and two police officers tasked with protecting him, were killed on Sunday in a horror crash in Markaryd, Sweden.

Since sketching a cartoon of the Muslim Prophet Mohammed with a dog's body in 2007, Vilks has been targeted twice by plots to kill him.

The police car he was in, smashed through a wire fence as it veered onto the wrong side of the road and into a truck it became wedged under at 3pm.

As both vehicles went up in flames as a result of the collision, the 45-year-old truck driver was able to exit his vehicle alive before being airlifted to hospital with serious injuries, MailOnline reports.

A spokesman for the police said told news agency AFP: "This is being investigated like any other road accident. Because two policemen were involved, an investigation has been assigned to a special section of the prosecutor's office."

Two people have been arrested in the past for two separate attempts to take Vilks' life, leading to him requiring protection.

The artist was swamped with death threats on the back of drawing the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, but it was not until eight years later that a lone gunman opened fire on his life.

In 2015 Omar El-Hussein targeted Mr Vilks at the Krudttonden cafe, Denmark where he was involved in a debate on free speech.

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American Colleen LaRose, 51 – also known as Jihad Jane – is currently serving a prison sentence on terrorism charges, including conspiring to kill Mr Vilks in 2011.

National Police Chief Anders Thornberg said: "It is with dismay and great sadness that I received the news that our two colleagues and our security person died this afternoon.

"My thoughts go out to their relatives, families, friends and co-workers."

Head of the special prosecutor's office Anders Jakobsson said: "With the information I have now, it indicates that it is an accident.

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"But the investigation is at a very early stage."

The surviving truck driver will be questioned by police over what happened.

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A witness told Aftonbladet that the truck driver had no time to react to the police car.

Norman said: "I noticed that a car that went very fast and lost control and suddenly the car had ended up in our direction of travel.

"The truck in front did not have time to swerve and then they collided in an incredible bang and an incredible speed."

  • Fire
  • Police
  • Shooting

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