The Mossad offered Swedish intelligence to assassinate a renowned left-wing journalist in the 1970s, says a book just published in Sweden. The proposed target doubts this is true.

The author, Gunnar Ekberg, was a secret agent of the Swedish military intelligence agency (IB), who had infiltrated leftist circles in Sweden at the time. The role of the IB was to monitor communist activity in Sweden and to identify "subversive elements." The Mossad and the IB cooperated at the time, with the Israeli agency receiving information on Palestinian organizations in Sweden. The existence of the IB was highly classified, and not even all Swedish cabinet ministers were aware of its operation.

In his memoir, titled They'll Die Anyway, Ekberg describes a meeting with the IB chief, Birger Elmer, after left-wing activist and journalist Jan Guillou revealed the existence of the Swedish military intelligence agency.

Ekberg says Elmer and his colleagues were terrified by the exposure and feared for their lives. "What do we do about Jan?" the intelligence chief asked Ekberg. "Our Jerusalem friends offered to 'take over' his case."

Ekberg says he told the official to decline the offer, which he maintains in the book meant Guillou would be liquidated. Elmer then told him he had already refused the suggestion. "I told the Israelis we don't kill people in Sweden," Elmer reportedly said. Guilou, 65, said he was skeptical. The journalist and author, who is known to be a fierce critic of Israel's policies, told Haaretz that "I'm not known as a defender of Israel or of the Mossad, but, in this case, the notion they offered to take me out is absurd. It might be effective for the author to squeeze my name into the book, along with the word "murder" because it'll attract attention and publicity."

"You've got to cut the Mossad some slack and expect it to act with more sophistication than killing Swedish intellectuals that express solidarity with Palestinians."

Guillou had been a member of the Swedish solidarity with the Palestinians movement and had been known to sharply criticize both the American "War on Terror" and the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza.