Sweden’s Säpo Increases Terror Threat Alert To Level Four Of Five For First Time Since 2015

Image of Swedish flag blowing in the wind.

Image of Swedish flag. Credit: byggarn.se / Shutterstock.com.

SWEDEN raised its terror threat level to four on a scale of five this Thursday, August 17.

Announcing the decision during a press conference, Charlotte von Essen the chief of Säpo, Sweden’s Security Police said: ‘Today I have made the decision to raise the terror threat level from an elevated to a high threat. We are going from a three to a four on a five-point scale’.

She explained that the reason behind this action was the gradual deterioration of the threat picture against Sweden this year. Sweden has gone from being a legitimate target to a priority target the security chief pointed out.

According to von Essen, the recent Koran burnings have made the security situation a lot worse. However, the LVU campaign, where Swedish social services have been accused for a long time of taking care of Muslim children, has also contributed she insisted.

Von Essen stressed: ‘Authorities and other social actors must continue to take measures to prevent and reduce the threat of terrorist attacks in Sweden, and it is important that there are conditions for persistence in this work. In this way, we create a safer Sweden’.

‘The decision to raise the terror threat level is not prompted by a single incident, and I want to emphasise that’, she added, according to hd.se.

The last time Sweden was at Level 4 was in 2015

Today’s decision by Säpo means that Sweden is at level four for the first time since the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, as reported in an official statement released by the service. As a result, for a few months, between November 18, 2015, and March 2, 2016, the threat was set at ‘high’.

At that time, the IS terrorist group called for acts in Europe, while Sweden also received an unusually large number of refugees in 2015.

Last weekend, al-Qaeda called for terrorist attacks in Sweden. On Sunday 13, the British government also announced new travel recommendations in which it is described as: ‘very likely that terrorists are trying to carry out attacks in Sweden’.

The recent Koran burnings have made things worse

Ahn-Za Hagström, head of the National Centre for Terror Threat Assessment (NCT), agreed that the Koran burnings have recently worsened the security situation and made Sweden a more specific target for violent Islamist extremism.

‘The recent period of violations of religious scriptures has contributed to the image of Sweden as a Muslim-hostile country. Sweden as a country is pointed out much more clearly in calls and propaganda’, she stressed.

She added: ‘It can inspire and motivate actors, both individuals and global terrorist organizations, to carry out acts of violence that can constitute terrorism’.

Säpo dealt with various threats against Swedish security

Susanna Trehörning, Säpo’s deputy head of counter-terrorism, explained how in its intelligence flow, the Security Police handles ongoing data and information about threats of attacks directed at Sweden and Swedish interests.

‘The assassination threats increased quite sharply at the beginning of the year after the incident in Stockholm where a religious scripture was destroyed by burning it’, she told the press conference.

Trehörning added: ‘The public is asked to be vigilant when it comes to, among other things, misinformation. The call to the public is to continue living life as usual but pay attention to what the authorities provide for information’.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com