Police chief on terror suspect arrest: "Quite a few" being questioned
Suspected terrorist Mutar Muthanna Majid was arrested in an operation which national police commissioner Dan Eliasson describes as a “fairytale”, but Sweden is still on high alert as more suspected terrorists are believed to be in the country.
After an extensive manhunt that prompted the Swedish intelligence service, Säpo, to raise the national terror threat level, suspected terrorist Mutar Muthanna Majid was arrested at a refugee centre in the small northern Swedish village of Boliden on Thursday evening.
"We are of course relieved that we found him. Now, he will be interrogated and we have to find out whether he has acted alone or not," Sweden's national police commissioner Dan Eliasson told Radio Sweden on Friday morning.
The arrest was described as “undramatic”, with local newspaper Norran reporting that police forces arrived at the refugee centre in Boliden at around 6.30 p.m. on Thursday, However, media reports confirming Muthanna Majid’s arrest only came at around 9 p.m.
According to media reports, Muthanna Majid has received help from several individuals in Sweden, and on Friday the country stayed on high alert, with Minister for Defense, Peter Hultqvist, telling tabloid Expressen that Sweden is searching for more suspected terrorists.
"There are a lot of rumours circulating, but I can confirm that quite a few people have been taken in for questioning,” Eliasson told Radio Sweden.
"We want to find out more information about the suspected terrorist himself, but we also want to know whether there are others in his surrounding who may be suspected of assisting him," said Eliasson.
Asked to describe the police and Säpo operation that led to Muthanna Majid’s arrest, Eliasson said: "To a certain extent, I think it is a fairytale. Up in northern part Sweden, in the snow and out there in the forest in a small village, we were able to find a suspected terrorist… After a combination of important factors, we could arrest him in a small, small village out in the wilderness. I'm very happy about that".
It was a combination of factors that led to the arrest, according to Eliasson: The Swedish security police and national police working closely together, tips from the general public, and cooperation with other national authorities and foreign services.
"We ensured that the national anti-terrorist squad was flown in to assist the police, but Muthanna Majid was arrested by local police before the squad arrived,” said Eliasson, adding that he cannot say whether international agencies and police services are interested in talking to the suspect. “I can't comment,” he said, “but I would be surprised if that wasn't the case”.
(The 22-year-old was later released and freed from all suspicion).