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TERRORISM

UK warns terrorists ‘very likely to try and carry out attacks in Sweden’

Foreign travel advice recently published by the British government has stated that "attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners".

UK warns terrorists 'very likely to try and carry out attacks in Sweden'
Tourists stand by the Royal Castle in front of a Royal guard in Stockholm in 2010. Photo: OLIVIER MORIN/AFP.

Travel advice published by the British government has warned that “terrorists are very likely to try and carry out attacks in Sweden,” and that the “attacks could be indiscriminate, including in places frequented by foreigners.”

According to Foreign Office advice on the British government Gov UK website, updated on August 13th, “the authorities in Sweden have successfully disrupted a number of planned attacks and made a number of arrests.”

READ ALSO: ‘Risks have increased’: Sweden ups terrorism readiness after Quran protests

Though the British Foreign Office warns of a “heightened threat of terrorist attacks globally against UK interests and British nationals from groups or individuals motivated by the conflict in Iraq and Syria,” ongoing tensions in Swedish society with regards to recent Quran burning incidents may also make attempted terror attacks more likely.

Sweden’s government says it has no plans to extend its hate law to include an explicit ban on burning or desecrating the Quran.

Over 850,000 British citizens visit Sweden every year, according to Swedish government statistics.

The Swedish police state on its official website that: “The terrorist threat level in Sweden is currently at a level 3, ‘elevated threat’. This means that an attack could happen.”

Sweden’s national security advisor, Henrik Landerholm, said in a statement the “the security situation has deteriorated and Sweden has gone from being a legitimate to a priority target.”

“The government and responsible authorities are following developments,” he added.

Landerholm also suggested that controversy surrounding the Quran burnings “indicate that the threat to Swedish interests abroad has increased. Representatives of terrorist groups have called for attacks against Sweden. States, but also other actors, have contributed to fueling such messages.”

The change in UK Foreign Office advice follows a similar move from the US Embassy earlier in 2023, published in a notice on the US embassy’s homepage.

“US citizens are advised to use caution when going to public venues frequented by large numbers of people. Gathering sites such as places of worship could be targeted. Please use caution when in, and around, all diplomatic facilities. Report suspicious activity to the relevant authorities,” the notice read.

Crime

The British government advice also includes information on more general crime risks in Sweden.

According to its updated travel advice, “crime levels are low although there is some petty crime,” in Sweden. Like in many countries, however, “pickpocketing can be a problem in the major cities when tourists are targeted for passports and cash.”

However, the Gov UK page does also note that in Sweden “violent crime does occur; instances of gang related crime, including knife crime, shootings and explosions, have been reported in Malmö, Stockholm and Gothenburg.”

READ ALSO: Lethal violence in Sweden at highest level in nearly 20 years: report

Sweden last year suffered the highest level of murder and manslaughter for at least 18 years, with 124 people losing their lives through violent attacks, according to the latest annual report from the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention (Brå).

Member comments

  1. All over the burning of a holy book. Is anyone considering how this looks against a demographic? This is yet more fuel to power the Sweden Democrats, something we do NOT want to happen.

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CRIME

Norway to deport Quran burner who caused uproar back to Sweden

An Iraqi refugee in Sweden who stoked international outrage by repeatedly desecrating the Quran last year has been arrested in Norway and now faces deportation back to Sweden, according to court documents viewed by AFP on Thursday.

Norway to deport Quran burner who caused uproar back to Sweden

Salwan Momika, a Christian Iraqi who burned Qurans at a slew of protests in Sweden over the summer, told AFP last week that he had left Sweden for Norway, where he planned to seek asylum.

According to a ruling by the Oslo District Court, Momika was arrested on March 28th — a day after he arrived.

After a hearing on March 30th, the court decided to detain Momika for four weeks, awaiting a likely request from the Norwegian Directorate of Immigration (UDI) to Sweden that he is returned, in accordance with EU legislation.

In the court’s ruling it said “a deportation will take place as soon as the formal and practical arrangements are in place.”

Police had requested that he would be detained in the meantime, citing the country’s migration law when it can be assumed that a foreign national will attempt to evade the implementation of a decision for him to leave the country.

Momika’s Quran burnings sparked widespread outrage and condemnation in Muslim countries.

Iraqi protesters stormed the Swedish embassy in Baghdad twice in July, starting fires within the compound on the second occasion.

The Swedish government condemned the desecrations of the Quran but stressed the country’s laws regarding freedom of speech and assembly.

Sweden’s intelligence agency heightened its terror alert level in mid-August to four on a scale of five after the angry reactions made the country a “prioritised target”.

The Swedish Migration Agency revoked Momika’s residency permit in October, citing false information in his original application, but he was granted a temporary one as it said there was an “impediment to enforcement” of a deportation to Iraq.

The month before, Iraq had requested his extradition over one of the Quran burnings.

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