17:19 GMT +316 December 2019
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    Growing Fear of Terrorism in Northern Europe

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    Daesh is feared to have between 400 and 600 terrorists who are ready to strike in Europe; according to the data made available by Associated Press, a number of jihadis associated with the so-called "Paris cell" may be hiding in Sweden.

    The Associated Press announced startling information on Wednesday night that directly contradicts the terror assessment issued by Sweden's Special Police Service SAPO.

    A group of migrants off an incoming train walk down a platform as they are accompanied by the police
    © AFP 2019 / TT NEWS AGENCY / STIG-AKE JONSSON

    According to SAPO's assessment of terrorism, there are no concrete threats against Sweden at the time, which is why the terrorist threat level was lowered from four to three on a five-point scale at the beginning of March.

    According to AP, which cited anonymous security sources in Iraq, Sweden is nevertheless one of the countries where terrorists from the jihadi cell which carried out the attacks in Paris are likely to be hiding out. Other countries from the same group are Germany, Britain, Italy and Denmark. In addition, AP's sources disclosed that a new terrorist group recently made their way to Europe via Turkey.

    "I do not think there really are people here who are currently lying low and are ready to perform terrorist attacks tomorrow, but it is true that there is a new organization within Daesh ready to proceed," says Magnus Ranstorp, who is regarded as one of Sweden's leading experts on terrorism, in an interview with Aftonbladet.

    Magnus Ranstorp is skeptical about the information that at least 400 terrorists have been specifically trained to wreak havoc in Europe.

    "I regard the information mostly as psychological warfare on Daesh's part", stated Ranstorp, who at the same time admitted that there is substantial evidence in the latest report by the European Police Office of guerilla groups within Daesh, ready to perform terrorist attacks.

    Pontus Gillnäs of the newspaper Expressen argues, however, that Sweden should take the terrorist threat more seriously and set up a special anti-terror force consisting of special police forces, as well as military units.

    "This force should be able to handle terrorist attacks on a completely different level than the current police resources permit," writes Pontus Gillnäs.

    Even Jonas Gummesson of Svenska Dagbladet argues that Sweden currently lacks a coherent security strategy and is vulnerable to possible terrorist attacks.

    Sweden's neighbor Finland is also on guard amid a heightened sense of anxiety in the country. Illka Kanerva, head of Finland's parliamentary defense commission, stated in an interview with the TV program Ylen Aamu-tv that Finland should consider tightening its anti-terrorism laws and establish closer ties with other countries in order to combat terrorism in a more effective way.

    "It is very likely that terrorists will use Finland as a jumping off-ground, because they may find Finland more accommodating in comparison to other parts of Western Europe," Kanerva was quoted as saying.

    According to Kanerva, Finland's outlay on the war on terrorism only amounts to a quarter of what its Nordic neighbors are spending.

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    Tags:
    police, terrorism threat, terrorist, Ilkka Kanerva, Sweden, Finland
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