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Swedish deputy PM who called 9/11 ‘accidents’ quits as Green Party head

Asa Romson, who also served as environment minister, made comments as she defended colleague who compared Israel to Nazis

Joint head of Sweden's Green Party Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Minister Åsa Romson smiles during an interview in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday May 9, 2016. (Maja Suslin /TT via AP)
Joint head of Sweden's Green Party Deputy Prime Minister and Environment Minister Åsa Romson smiles during an interview in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday May 9, 2016. (Maja Suslin /TT via AP)

Sweden’s deputy prime minister, who called the September 11, 2001 attacks “accidents” while defending a colleague who compared Israel to the Nazis, stepped down Monday as co-leader of the Green Party.

Asa Romson, who served as environment minister, came under fire last month for her remarks about the terror attacks on New York and Washington.

According to Swedish news site TheLocal, Romson and party co-head Education Minister Gustav Fridolin have been under increasing pressure to bring new blood into the party leadership, in light of a series of scandals and plummeting popularity. Fridolin, however, is expected to stay on as party co-chair.

The crisis began three weeks ago, when Green Party member Mehmet Kaplan resigned as housing minister after the Swedish media reported on his alleged links to extremists in his native Turkey and it emerged that he compared Israel to the Nazis in 2009.

Days later, Romson made her own controversial remarks in his defense.

“He has been chairman of Young Muslims in tough situations like the September 11 accidents and similar,” she told public broadcaster SVT, according to TheLocal.

She later clarified that despite her reference to the “accidents,” she was aware that the September 11, 2001, attacks were acts of terror.

In 2015, Romson was previously criticized for calling the migrant crisis “the new Auschwitz.”

Critics, including Jewish leaders, called the comparison to the Nazi death camp misguided and offensive. About 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed in the Nazi death camp during World War II.

Romson apologized in a tweet, saying,“It was wrong to make the comparison with Auschwitz.”

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