April 13. 2024. 6:47

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Terror threats against Sweden increase

Terrorist threats against Sweden have increased, the Swedish Security Service warned in a press release on Wednesday, citing the burning of the Quran outside the Turkish embassy in February as one of the main reasons.

According to intelligence services, Sweden is now more of a target of violent extremism than ever before.

“The recent trend of threats against Sweden and Swedish interests is serious and affects Sweden’s security. The Swedish Security Service is seeing an increase in the number of terrorist threats in the intelligence flow,” Säpo pointed out.

“The Swedish Security Service works closely with national and international partners in our efforts to protect national security and assesses the threat on an ongoing basis. The situation following recent events is problematic,” the press release added.

The increase in threats was triggered by the burning of the Quran outside the Turkish Embassy in Stockholm last month by Rasmus Paludan, a Danish-Swedish far-right extremist.

The burning led to massive demonstrations across the Muslim world from Istanbul to Jakarta, souring relations with Turkey, which now refuses to accept Sweden’s NATO bid.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan even demanded Sweden amend its legislation on freedom of expression to make Quran book burning an offence.

“I cannot go into the nature of the threats. When it comes to the threats, it is mainly the violence-promoting Islamist environment that is targeting us,” Fredrik Hallström, the head of the counter-terrorism at Säpo, told SVT Nyheter.

The war in Ukraine, as well as international rumours surrounding Swedish social services allegedly being involved in the illegal separation of children from their parents, also contributed to the increase in threats, Hallström added.

Still, the terror threat level in Sweden remains unchanged despite being at an elevated three on a five-point scale.

“It has been at an elevated level for some time. The assessment includes the risk of attacks,” said Hallström adding that if Sweden were to face an increase in threats and the security situation were not to change in the long term, the terrorist threat assessment could be reassessed.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)