Swedish synagogues shut down as terror alert is raised
Sweden’s Jewish community shut down synagogues across the country as a precautionary measure against possible attacks by terrorist groups.
The chairwoman of the Official Council of Jewish Communities in Sweden, Lena Posner-Körösi, said the security situation would be re-assessed on a daily basis.
On Wednesday, Swedish police said they were hunting for a man wanted for “planning a terrorist act”. An arrest warrant had been issued for the suspect, the head of domestic intelligence and counter-terrorism, Anders Thornberg, told a press conference in Stockholm.
“The man is being actively searched for,” Thornberg said, refusing to confirm media reports the suspect is an Iraqi who has fought in Syria.
The man is wanted over his activities in Sweden and there is so far no link to the bloody attacks in Paris on Friday which left 129 people dead.
Sweden on Wednesday raised its national terror threat status to “high”, the second-highest level on a five-point scale, following an assessment by the National Center for Terrorist Threat Assessment (NCT).
NCT director Mats Sandberg told the news conference that the Islamic State terror group – which has claimed the Paris attacks – “considers Sweden a legitimate target”. Mona Sahlin, Sweden’s national coordinator for protecting democracy against violent extremism, said: “We need to do more both on the repressive side, we have laws that are not enough and the government is well aware of that. And there are parts of Swedish society who don’t consider that jihadism is a problem here. So we need to do more,” she said.
Denmark also raised its threat status on Wednesday. In February, a Danish-born Islamist extremist killed a Danish filmmaker outside a cultural center and then killed a Jewish volunteer outside a synagogue in Copenhagen. However, the Danish community said it had no plans to close its synagogues at the present time.