Sweden threat level remains elevated: Säpo
Published: 24 Oct 2011 10:33 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Oct 2011 10:33 GMT+02:00
Swedish security service Säpo has chosen to keep the terror threat level in Sweden elevated due to the increased mention of the country on terrorist-inspired web pages.
- Säpo wants more power to spy on the internet (20 Oct 11)
- 'Vilks was target of Gothenburg attack' (21 Sep 11)
- Stockholm bomber's widow arrested in UK (14 Sep 11)
In October 2010 Säpo upgraded the terror threat against Sweden for the first time in the country's history from grade 2 (low threat) to 3 (heightened threat) on a 5-grade scale.
At the time, Säpo head Anders Danielsson said that the threat was ”specific but not immediate”.
A year later, he revealed to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) that the threat against Sweden from last year was centred on a specific person, who it was feared would try to strike against Sweden.
This person has since been detained for another crime and is no longer a threat to the country.
”A year ago we had a concrete threat which made us upgrade the threat level. This particular threat has subsequently been eliminated. We have contributed to the presumptive offender being held accountable for another crime committed,” Danielsson told DN.
Despite this, Säpo is not prepared to lower the current alert.
”This is because the Counter-Terrorism Co-operative Council (Nationellt centrum för terrorhotbedömning) has registered that Sweden occurs more often on al-Qaeda-inspired web pages. Lars Vilks is one of the reasons, as is Sweden's presence in Aghanistan,” Danielsson told the newspaper.
In September, Säpo apprehended four people in Gothenburg, on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack on an art gallery exhibition which Vilks was reportedly going to visit.
Vilks has been under threat since his drawings of the prophet Muhammad, published in a Swedish newspaper, caused a wave of condemnation from Muslims worldwide.
The four were believed to have ties to Somali fundamentalist movement al- Shabaab.
However, one was later released due to lack of evidence and the suspicions against the other men were downgraded from preparing terror crimes to preparing to commit murder.
Säpo was later criticised for not providing the public with enough information and it was questioned whether the raid at the art gallery had been warranted.
However, Säpo has long been under fire for not being ”open” in their activities, according to DN, despite Danielsson promising a more open organisation when he took up the post as Säpo head in 2007.
The preliminary investigation into last year's suicide bomb attack in Stockholm in which 29-year-old Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up near a busy pedestrian thoroughfare, has still not been completed.
According to Danielsson, Säpo is still investigating if Abdulwahab had an accomplice; if someone else instigated the act, or if he was supplied with the means to carry out his suicide attack.
”From the very beginning we have wanted to get an answer to the question whether Taimour Abdulwahab had an accomplice. We still don't know. But we have information that this may be the case. And this has to be investigated thoroughly,” Danielsson told the paper.