• Sweden's news in English

Stockholm attack follows terror warnings

James Savage · 12 Dec 2010, 00:29

Published: 12 Dec 2010 00:29 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

The Swedish Security Service (Säpo), raised its threat level to “elevated” in early October, the first time the Swedish authorities have been on such a high level of alert.

The level was raised after Sweden's National Centre for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT) said there had been "a shift in activities among certain groups in Sweden, judged to be targeted at Sweden."

Säpo also reported in October that it believed a handful of Swedish residents had travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan to attend terrorist training camps.

John Daniels of the Swedish Military Intelligence and Security Service said at the time that a number of people in Sweden had “the intention and the capacity to carry out attacks agains Swedish targets.”

Until now, though, such warnings have not translated into attacks on the ground. Previously uncovered Sweden-related terror plots have targeted specific individuals or have involved Swedish-based extremists aiming to attack targets abroad.

Swedish artist Lars Vilks has been the target of numerous threats after he portrayed Muhammad, the Muslim prophet, as a dog. American Colleen R. LaRose, also known as ‘JihadJane,’ was charged last year with trying to recruit terrorists to murder him.

Sweden’s military presence in Afghanistan, as part of the Nato-lined ISAF force, has also been put forward as possibly raising the threat to Sweden.

The apparent realisation of the threat against Sweden was a worry, a top Swedish terror expert said on Saturday:

“It’s extremely disconcerting that terror is now indiscriminately targeting civilians in Sweden,” Magnus Ranstorp, a security expert from the Swedish National Defence College (Försvarshögskolan) told Aftonbladet following the blasts, adding that they marked a “break” with previous trends.

He explained that suicide bombers rarely act on their own, but often receive psychological and other types of support from others.

“This individual didn’t act alone,” said Ranstorp.

“Based on my experience, it’s one thing if it’s just a car fire. But to go and put together pipe bombs and sacrifice your life – I’d be very surprised if he didn’t have contact with other individuals.”

Ranstorp cautioned, however, that it was too early to say whether the man who apparently blew himself up in Stockholm on Saturday has ties to any established terrorist networks.

Story continues below…

Much of the Swedish anti-terror effort has in recent years been focused on Swedes of Somali descent working for Somalian terror organization al-Shabaab. According to Säpo, the al-Qaeda linked group has recruited more than 20 young people from Sweden to fight in the war-torn African country.

In Wednesday, just days prior to Saturday's blasts, two Swedish citizens of Somali origin who were members of al-Shabaab were sentenced to prison by a Swedish court for "planning terrorist crimes" in Somalia.

In a separate incident, three people arrested in an investigation into an alleged terror plot in Gothenburg in October were released without charge after police decided that the men posed no credible threat.

Despite Saturday's suicide attack, Säpo has no plans to heighten Sweden's threat level, Sveriges Television (SVT) reported.

James Savage (james.savage@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Today's headlines
US election
Donald Trump won't get new Ericsson head's vote
Trump pictured at a campaign rally in Florida. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

The new Swedish-American boss of telecoms giant Ericsson has revealed he will not vote for the Republican nominee in the forthcoming US presidential election.

Swedes named fourth most gender equal in the world
A file photo of men and women pushing prams in Stockholm. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Sweden has closed 81 percent of its overall gender gap according to the World Economic Forum.

Sweden: Russian warships in the Baltic 'worrying'
Swedish Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist. Photo: Vilhelm Stokstad/TT

Two Russian warships equipped with long-range missiles have entered the Baltic Sea after passing Denmark.

Why businesses are worried about Sweden's drone ban
A drone filming in Stockholm. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

The Local investigates what Sweden's new drone ban could mean for businesses in the country.

This is the new top boss of Swedish Ericsson
Börje Ekholm. Photo: Magnus Hjalmarson Neideman/SvD/TT

Telecoms giant Ericsson has appointed a new CEO after a turbulent year for the company.

These are Sweden's best universities: ranking
A new university ranking has been released. Photo: Cecilia Larsson Lantz/Imagebank.sweden.se

At least according to this global ranking, which picks 12 Swedish universities among the top-1000.

Swedish pharmacies restrict paracetamol sales for teens
The move is intended to cut paracetamol overdoses. Photo: Nora Lorek/TT

Sweden's pharmacies are banning teens under 18 from buying more than one pack of pills at a time.

The Local List
12 Swedish words with just awesome literal translations
A filthy-minded lobster, i.e. a snuskhummer. Photo: Gorm Kallestad/NTB scanpix/TT

One of our favourite things about the Swedish language is its wonderful compound words, which range from being utterly bizarre to making perfect sense.

Rwandan genocide suspect held in Sweden
A memorial centre in Kigali, Rwanda. Photo: Ben Curtis/AP

A man has been arrested in Sweden suspected of involvement in the 1994 Rwandan genocide which claimed 800,000 lives.

Sweden can extend border controls, EU says
A police officer carrying out a check at Sweden's border with Denmark. Photo: Emil Langvad/TT

EU countries including Sweden should be granted permission to extend temporary border controls by a period of a further three months, the European Commission has decided.

Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Sweden cuts 2016 refugee forecast
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Is Game of Thrones coming to Sweden?
Property of the week: Kungsholmen, Stockholm
Blog updates

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »


8 July

Editor’s blog, July 8th (The Local Sweden) »

"Hej readers, It has, as always, been a bizarre, serious and hilarious week in Sweden. You…" READ »

Sponsored Article
This is Malmö: Football capital of Sweden
Will Swedes soon be looking for fairtrade porn?
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
The Local Voices
'I simply don’t believe in nationality'
Why we're convinced Game of Thrones is based on Sweden
People-watching: October 21st-23rd
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fury at plans that 'threaten the IB's survival' in Sweden
Sponsored Article
Swedish for programmers: 'It changed my life'
Analysis & Opinion
Are we just going to let half the country die?
Angry elk chases Swede up a lamp post
Sponsored Article
Top 7 tips to help you learn Swedish
The Local Voices
'Alienation in Sweden feels better: I find myself a stranger among scores of aliens'
Sponsored Article
‘Extremism can't be defeated on the battlefield alone’
People-watching: October 20th
The Local Voices
A layover at Qatar airport brought this Swedish-Kenyan couple together - now they're heading for marriage
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: creating solutions to global challenges
Swede punches clown that scared his grandmother
Sponsored Article
Why you should 'grab a chair' on Stockholm's tech scene
Fans throw flares and enter pitch in Swedish football riot
Sponsored Article
Where is the Swedish music industry heading?
Could Swedish blood test solve 'Making a Murderer'?
Sponsored Article
One expat's strategy for making friends in Stockholm
Swedish school to build gender neutral changing room
Sponsored Article
Nordic fashion in focus at Stockholm University
People-watching: October 14th-16th
Man in Sweden assaulted by clowns with broken bottle
Nobel Prize 2016: Literature
Watch the man who discovered Bob Dylan react to his Nobel Prize win
Record numbers emigrating from Sweden
People-watching: October 12th
The Local Voices
'Swedish startups should embrace newcomers' talents - there's nothing to fear'
How far right are the Sweden Democrats?
Property of the week: Triangeln, Malmö
The Local Voices
Syria's White Helmets: The Nobel Peace Prize would have meant a lot, but pulling a child from rubble is the greatest reward
jobs available