Head of the Swedish security service (Säpo) Anders Thornberg has warned that right wing extremists could seek revenge after the Stockholm terror attack which saw four people killed.
“We look at the reactions from other violent extremist environments. We look specifically at the White Power scene to see if there is a risk of retaliation or that one would take the law into his own hands,” Säpo chief Thornberg told Swedish broadcaster SVT, Sydsvenskan reports.
“We’re noticing that there are a lot of people who are upset. There’s talk of revenge,” he added.
Other experts are not as concerned about the threat of right wing retaliation. Terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told SVT the chances of retaliatory attacks were unlikely. “Retaliation does not happen very often. It has to be on their [the terrorists’] conditions you convince someone to carry out that kind of attack. You might perhaps not be able to do that immediately after an attack, so I don’t believe [there will be] acts of revenge,” he said.
Thornberg admitted right wing extremism was not the biggest priority for the Säpo and that Islamic extremism was the greatest security threat in Sweden.
Since the beginning of the migrant crisis in 2015, right wing organisations have emerged in Sweden, often in the form of “vigilante groups” like the “Soldiers of Odin”. Left wing activists have accused the groups of being neo-Nazis, though many of these vigilantes deny any Nazi ties.
One group who has not hidden their ties to Nazi ideology is the Nordic Resistance Front which has marched on the streets of Swedish cities. The group clashed with counter-protestors on several occasions, including in November when they were targetted with fireworks in central Stockholm.
Over the weekend, authorities released further information on the suspect arrested in connection with the Stockholm terror attack, saying he is a 39-year-old failed asylum seeker from Uzbekistan. Police said the man was already known as having terrorist sympathies and was one of an estimated 12,500 failed asylum seekers who remain in Sweden and have so far avoided deportation.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the fact the man was a failed asylum seeker made him”frustrated” and said that Sweden would never go back to the open door migration policy that it had during 2015. “Sweden will never go back to the [mass migration] we had in autumn 2015, never,” he said and added: “Everyone who has been denied a permit should return home.”
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