02:57 GMT07 March 2021
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    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)

    The dramatic rise of the terrorist threat in Europe has spurred even neutral and peaceful Sweden to take decisive measures. The Swedish military is all set to practice finding homemade bombs as part of a major international exercise.

    The Swedish armed forces will hold exercises on finding and defusing homemade bombs and explosive devices, as well as tracing their origin as part of the international Bison Hunter drills. The drill starts on Friday and is scheduled to continue for ten days. The exercise will be hosted by the city of Karlskrona, which is home to Sweden's eponymous and only remaining naval base, as well as the headquarters of the Swedish Coast Guard.

    The exercise, taking place at sea and on the islands around Karlskrona, will gather some 50 military personnel.

    "Here in Karlskrona, we will hold drills on finding and disarming homemade bombs, of which we hear in the news almost every day now," Ludvig Adielsson of the Karlskrona Naval Base told Swedish Radio.

    ​Homemade bombs have been found at sea before. One notorious example is the American warship the USS Cole, which tripped on a bomb in Yemen.

    "Recently, we have seen terrorist attacks with homemade bombs in Paris, in Turkey and elsewhere, so this is a highly urgent threat to parry," Ludvid Adielsson said.

    Usually, dealing with homemade bombs is regarded as a police task. Nevertheless, the armed forces must be able to support Swedish police, should the situation get out of control, he pointed out.

    Residents of Karlskrona have already been briefed on the exercise, which is expected to feature two underwater detonations on the surrounding islands.

    In 2010, the first ever suicide attack in Nordic countries was carried out in Sweden, as two bombs went off in central Stockholm. Both Sweden's then-Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Security Police SÄPO described the bombing as an act of terrorism.

    Although Sweden is seldom listed among the terrorists' premier targets, the country's Security Police warned earlier this year of intelligence information about a possible terror threat, whereupon security was raised in airports across the country.

    SÄPO has previously identified over 300 people as having left Sweden since 2013 to join the militant jihadists in the Middle East. No less than 135 are believed to have returned to Sweden and currently rank among the biggest threats to the country. Sweden, known for its notoriously lax immigration policy which overlooks radical Islamists, has also been identified as one the EU's foremost "suppliers" of jihadists per capita.

    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)


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