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Extremists force cartoonist into hiding

NYHAMNSLAGE, Sweden, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Swedish artist Lars Vilks has been forced into hiding because of threats from an al-Qaida cell over his caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed.

Vilks left his home in Nyhamnslage in southern Sweden Monday on the advice of police protecting him from an al-Qaida front organization in Iraq, The Local reported.

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The threats began after Vilks portrayed Muhammed in the caricature of a dog, The Local reported.

"I think the artwork has developed well so far and is on its way toward becoming superb," Vilks, who said he hoped to return to his house and resume life as he knew it, told The Local.

"I still hold out strong hopes of a happy ending in that this too may end up as a farce," he said.

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