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Sweden lowers national threat level

Updated onsdag 2 mars 2016 kl 11.26
Published onsdag 2 mars 2016 kl 11.05
"Even if there still are some unanswered questions, the general picture is clearer"
(2:07 min)
Fredrik Sandberg / TT
Säpo lowered the national threat level on Wednesday. File photo: Fredrik Sandberg / TT

Sweden’s national terror threat level has dropped from four to three following a decision by Anders Thornberg, security chief with intelligence service Säpo, who noted that the situation is still "serious".

In November 2015, the national threat level was raised from three to four on a five-grade scale. The decision to lower it again now is based on strategic analyses from the National Centre for Terrorist Threat Assessment, according to a statement from Säpo.

“I have made an overall assessment and decided to return to the heightened threat level which has applied in Sweden since the fall of 2010. That means we are going from a four to a three on the five-grade scale,” says Thornberg, who also consulted with the heads of the National Defence Radio Establishment and the Military Intelligence and Security Directorate before making the decision on Wednesday.

Säpo also stated that lowering the threat level does not mean that there is no terrorist threat at all in Sweden. According to the National Centre for Terrorist Threat Assessment, militant Islamists view Sweden as a legitimate target, even if it is not a priority target.

According to Säpo, there is still a small number of actors with the intention and ability to carry out terrorist attacks in Sweden and Thornberg said in his press statement that “the situation has been serious since 2010 – and it still is”.

Reacting to Säpo's decision to change the national threat level, Sweden's home affairs minister Anders Ygeman said: "It is an independent decision by the authority. I have great confidence in Säpo’s judgement and in their efforts to ensure our security and safety." Yegman's written statement was cited by news agency TT.

When the threat level was raised in Sweden last year, the terrorist attacks in Paris had just taken place. “The attacks lead to intensive efforts among Europe’s intelligence and security services to analyse and evaluate the situation. Even if many unanswered questions still remain, the overall picture has become somewhat clearer since then,” said Thornberg.

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