The biggest terror threat facing Sweden in 2017

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The biggest terror threat facing Sweden in 2017
Police at Stockholm Central Station in 2015. Photo: Janerik Henriksson/TT

'Lone wolves' pose the biggest terror threat to Sweden in 2017, according to a new national report.


Nationellt Centrum För Terrorhotbedömning (NCT), a group comprised of staff from Sweden's security police and tasked with evaluating the threat of terrorism, presented its 2017 report on Wednesday.

According to the report, the biggest threat to Sweden is terror attacks inspired by radical Islamist ideology, such as that promoted by Isis (referred to in the report as Daesh) and al-Qaeda in the Middle East.

It names Isis as the main threat in this respect, but adds that a terror attack is more likely to be inspired by the actions of the group rather than actively orchestrated by any of its leaders or members abroad.

“The biggest risk we're seeing is the individual player, who has been inspired and perhaps radicalized, almost on their own. In our view that risk is greater than a major coordinated attack with several actors similar to Paris for example,” Mats Sandberg, head of NCT, told Swedish public radio on Wednesday.

Sweden's national terror threat level will remain at “elevated”, or “three” on a scale from one to five where five is the most serious, based on violent Islamism and its links to Sweden, said Sandberg.

Security police believe that around 300 Swedish nationals have travelled to Syria and Iraq to join groups such as Isis in the past few years, although fewer such journeys were made in 2016 than before.

Among these people are believed to be those who are capable of carrying out attacks. However, according to Sandberg most of the 2016 attacks in Europe were carried out by home-grown terrorists.

“What we're seeing when it comes to the Western world, is that most of the planned and executed attacks are carried out by people who have not been to a conflict zone,” he told Swedish radio.

NCT believes that the threat of politically motivated terrorism, by far-right or far-left groups, is low, or a level “two” on the terror threat scale. However, the report adds that there likely are individuals within both groups who are “capable of carrying out violent acts that could be classified as terror attacks”.

The report states that there is “no threat” of separatist terror attacks by groups such as for example PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, despite heightened tensions in Turkey.


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