Sweden threat level remains elevated: Säpo

Swedish security service Säpo has chosen to keep the terror threat level in Sweden elevated due to the increased mention of the country on terrorist-inspired web pages.

Sweden threat level remains elevated: Säpo
Säpo continues to investigate the December 2010 suicide bombing in Stockholm

In October 2010 Säpo upgraded the terror threat against Sweden for the first time in the country’s history from grade 2 (low threat) to 3 (heightened threat) on a 5-grade scale.

At the time, Säpo head Anders Danielsson said that the threat was ”specific but not immediate”.

A year later, he revealed to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) that the threat against Sweden from last year was centred on a specific person, who it was feared would try to strike against Sweden.

This person has since been detained for another crime and is no longer a threat to the country.

”A year ago we had a concrete threat which made us upgrade the threat level. This particular threat has subsequently been eliminated. We have contributed to the presumptive offender being held accountable for another crime committed,” Danielsson told DN.

Despite this, Säpo is not prepared to lower the current alert.

”This is because the Counter-Terrorism Co-operative Council (Nationellt centrum för terrorhotbedömning) has registered that Sweden occurs more often on al-Qaeda-inspired web pages. Lars Vilks is one of the reasons, as is Sweden’s presence in Aghanistan,” Danielsson told the newspaper.

In September, Säpo apprehended four people in Gothenburg, on suspicion of preparing a terrorist attack on an art gallery exhibition which Vilks was reportedly going to visit.

Vilks has been under threat since his drawings of the prophet Muhammad, published in a Swedish newspaper, caused a wave of condemnation from Muslims worldwide.

The four were believed to have ties to Somali fundamentalist movement al- Shabaab.

However, one was later released due to lack of evidence and the suspicions against the other men were downgraded from preparing terror crimes to preparing to commit murder.

Säpo was later criticised for not providing the public with enough information and it was questioned whether the raid at the art gallery had been warranted.

However, Säpo has long been under fire for not being ”open” in their activities, according to DN, despite Danielsson promising a more open organisation when he took up the post as Säpo head in 2007.

The preliminary investigation into last year’s suicide bomb attack in Stockholm in which 29-year-old Taimour Abdulwahab blew himself up near a busy pedestrian thoroughfare, has still not been completed.

According to Danielsson, Säpo is still investigating if Abdulwahab had an accomplice; if someone else instigated the act, or if he was supplied with the means to carry out his suicide attack.

”From the very beginning we have wanted to get an answer to the question whether Taimour Abdulwahab had an accomplice. We still don’t know. But we have information that this may be the case. And this has to be investigated thoroughly,” Danielsson told the paper.

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Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police

The chief executive of a largely Muslim free school in Gothenburg has been placed in custody by the Swedish Migration Agency on the orders of the country's Säpo security police. It follows the arrests of other Imams in recent months.

Prominent Muslim head of free school seized by security police
He was seized on Wednesday and taken to an immigration detention centre in the city, Sweden's Expressen newspaper reported on Thursday
Abdel-Nasser el Nadi, chief executive of Vetenskapsskolan, is the fifth senior member of Sweden's Muslim community to be placed in custody in less than a month. 
Three prominent imams are now in custody: Abo Raad, imam of a mosque in Gävle, Hussein Al-Jibury, imam of a mosque in Umeå, and Fekri Hamad, imam of a mosque in Västerås. Raad's son is also being held. 
Sven-Erik Berg, the school's headmaster, told The Local that he had no idea what was behind the arrest. 
“We don't know anything. I don't know anything more than you,” he said. “We are doing nothing, but the school is naturally maintaining a dialogue with the Swedish School Inspectorate and their lawyers.” 
He said it was inaccurate to describe the school as a 'Muslim school' as it has no official confessional status. 
“The chief executive is a central person among Swedish Muslims, so naturally the group of people we recruit from are often those who have a relation to Islam or Sweden's Islamic associations,” he said. “But the school does not go around telling children what they should or shouldn't believe.”
On its website the school declares: “At our school everyone is treated equally irrespective of gender, religion, ethnic background, appearance, opinions, or abilities”. 
“We are one of the best schools in Gothenburg. You just have to look at the statistics,” Berg added.  
A spokesman for Säpo told Expressen that he could not comment on any of the five cases or on whether they were in some way linked. 
But according to the Swedish news site Doku, which investigates Islamic extremists, Säpo is probing whether el Nadi has any links to a network of Islamic militants.
In an article published last October, the site alleged that El Nadi's activism was part of the reason that so many young men from Gothenburg had travelled to fight for the terror group Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. 
El-Nadi was previously the school's headmaster, and the school was in 2018 criticised by the Swedish School Inspectorate for not sufficiently promoting equality between girls and boys.
When he was interviewed by Dagens Nyheter a year ago, he asserted his loyalty to Sweden. 
“I have five children, all of whom were born in Sweden, a big family, and I want to protect this society in the same way that I have protected my children,” he said.  
El-Nadi was born in Egypt but has lived in Sweden since 1992. He has twice applied to become a Swedish citizen, in 2007 and 2011, and twice been rejected.