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Sweden raises terror threat level from 3 to 4 amidst growing concerns


In a significant move to address escalating security concerns, the Swedish Security Service (Säkerhetspolisen) has elevated the country’s terror threat level from level 3 to level 4.

“We have transitioned from being considered a legitimate target to a prioritized target for violent Islamism,” announced Charlotte von Essen, Chief of the Swedish Security Service, during a press conference.

According to von Essen, this decision is not solely based on a single incident but rather on a gradual deterioration of the threat level against Sweden over an extended period. She pointed out factors such as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and disinformation campaigns as contributing causes. Moreover, there have been indications that state actors have taken advantage of the negative attention directed at Sweden. The Chief anticipates that the heightened threat level will persist for some time, calling on relevant authorities to adapt accordingly.

“While we urge the public to continue with their regular routines, it’s crucial to remain vigilant about the information provided by authorities,” von Essen emphasized. “It’s equally important not to believe unverified information or rumors. Be discerning about your sources.”

Previous high assessment in 2016
The terror threat level in Sweden had been assessed at level 3 since 2010, with a brief exception during 2015-2016 when it was temporarily raised to level 4. This action was taken as the Swedish Security Service pursued an individual suspected of preparing a terror attack in Sweden. The suspicions were later dismissed.

The decision to raise the terror threat level is based on data from the National Center for Terror Threat Assessment (NCT), which includes representation from the Swedish Security Service, the Swedish Defense Radio Establishment (FRA), and the Military Intelligence and Security Service (Must).

The Swedish Armed Forces have also announced an elevation of the terror threat level for its personnel to level 4, in alignment with the assessment made by the Swedish Security Service.

Increased threat amid Quran burnings
In recent times, there has been a noticeable increase in incidents involving the burning of the Quran. Ahn-Za Hagström, an analyst at the Swedish Security Service, highlighted during the press conference that these events have contributed to projecting Sweden as a hostile environment towards Muslims in the eyes of extremist groups.

“As a nation, Sweden has been more explicitly targeted in calls to action and propaganda,” noted Hagström. “This portrayal may serve as inspiration and motivation for both individual actors and global terrorist organizations to carry out violent acts that can be categorized as acts of terrorism.”

As the country adjusts to the heightened terror threat level, will continue to closely monitor and report on developments, providing insights into the evolving security landscape and its implications.

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