the country raises its terror alert level

the country raises its terror alert level

Sweden has raised its terrorist alert level to 4 on a scale of 5, the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) announced Thursday, August 17, the strong reactions aroused abroad by the desecrations of the Koran on Swedish soil making the country a “priority target”.

“I decided today to raise the level of the terrorist threat from a high level to a critical level”said the head of the Swedish intelligence services, Charlotte von Essen, during a press conference, considering that the threat of attacks “will persist for a long time” in the country.

Burning of Qurans

This is the first time since 2016 that Sweden has raised its alert level. At the time, the decision was taken, among other things, because the Islamic State group regularly made terrorist threats towards the European continent.

In recent months, the security situation of the Nordic country, usually placid, has deteriorated particularly after desecrations of the Koran on its soil.

At the end of July, in particular, two men had set fire to a copy of the Koran in front of the Parliament in Stockholm, reiterating a gesture already carried out at the end of June in front of the largest mosque in the Swedish capital.

These actions caused great tension in the Muslim world, and the Swedish embassy in Baghdad was burnt down before being temporarily repatriated to Stockholm. The hostility expressed towards Sweden had then led the country to intensify its border controls, without however raising the risk of a terrorist attack.

Last week, a Molotov cocktail was thrown at the Swedish embassy in Beirut, without the projectile exploding. And over the weekend, the terrorist group Al-Qaeda called for terrorist attacks in the Scandinavian country.

Freedom of expression

Several countries have also updated their recommendations for travelers wishing to visit Sweden. On Sunday, British diplomacy said the terrorist attacks were there today “very likely”.

The United States had also advised travelers on July 26 to exercise “increased caution” in Sweden because of the risk of “terrorism”.

The Swedish authorities are considering ways to limit the organization of demonstrations planning to burn the Koran while respecting freedom of expression. But the parliamentary majority now seems hostile to such a change.

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