Number Of Islamist Extremists In Sweden Grows Tenfold In Seven Years

Suslin/TT News Agency/via Reuters

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent
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The number of Islamist extremists in Sweden has grown from 200 in 2010 to around 2,000 seven years later, the country’s security police (Säpo) said Monday.

Out of 3,000 violent extremists currently in the country, two-thirds are believed to have Islamist motives. Säpo chief Anders Thornberg describes the rise in extremism as “an historic challenge” that’s become the “new normal.”

“The terror threat has gone up since 2010. This means an attack can take place in our country, and it did,” Thornberg said Monday, referring to the April 7 truck attack in Stockholm. “Violent Islamist extremism is the biggest threat for the time being.”

Säpo currently receives about 6,000 intelligence tips per month. While few extremists have “the will and ability” to carry out an attack, Thornberg believes it’s crucial to track down individuals and keep them under surveillance.

“It’s important that everyone in Sweden takes responsibility to end this trend,” Thornberg said.

Germany’s security and intelligence agency (BfV) recently reported a similar trend. The country’s population of Islamist extremists grew from 100 people in 2013 to 1,600 in 2017, according to a February report. (RELATED: Germany Reports Dramatic Increase In Islamic Extremism)

Out of the 1,600 on the list, about 570 are considered “dangerous” and capable of plotting a terror attack.

“We receive between two and four credible tips on planned terrorist activity in Germany each day,” BfV chief Hans-Georg Maassen said in February, according to Deutsche Welle. “We have to recognize that we are living in a different situation now than was normal.”

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