Raised Threat Level in Sweden

Updated 7:20 PM

The Security Service of the Swedish Police has decided to raise the terrorism threat level here from "low" to "elevated". This means for the first time in modern history, a move from level two to three on a five-grade scale.

According to the agency’s Director General, Anders Danielsson, the threat to Sweden however "is not currently assessed to be imminent".

The decision was made in the middle of September, but a statement was published on the agency's website on Friday morning. According to the statement "the assessment is based on intelligence indicating a shift in activities among certain groups in Sweden, judged to be targeted at Sweden."

According to Swedish Radio News the the change is based on intelligence from the National Center for Terrorist Threat Assessment, as well as the National Defence Radio Establishment, and the Military Intelligence and Security Service.

The head of the military intelligence agency, John Daniels, tells Swedish Radio News “There are a number of people in a certain environment who have the intention and capacity to carry out terrorist attacks against Swedish targets.”

Anders Danielsson tells the news agency TT that Sweden has never before had a terror threat on this level. But he refuses to comment on who might be behind the threat or if any specific part of Sweden is being threatened.

Danielsson also refuses to say whether there is a link between this action and warnings over the last few days from western security services that terror-educated Islamists with European passports have come, or are on their way, from camps in Pakistan to carry out spectacular attacks on cities in Europe.

What the police will say is that compared to the situation in several other European countries, the threat level to Sweden is still low. According to a press spokesman at the two main Stockholm airports, the raised threat level will not result in any extra airline security checks of passengers.

In response to the heightened alert level, the American Embassy in Stockholm issued the following statement:

“In light of the decision of the Government of Sweden to raise the national terrorism threat level, the U.S. Embassy  in Stockholm would like to reemphasize the recently issued Worldwide Caution, and reminds American citizens living in, visiting, and transiting Sweden to adhere to basic security principles to help reduce the chance of being the victim of crime, political violence, or terrorism.”