The Swedish security agency Sapo has revealed it is having a much harder time tracking down potential terrorists as more and more lone wolf attackers inspired by, but not directly tied to, the Islamic State continue to emerge.
Fredrik Hallström, Deputy Unit Manager at the Security Department, has revealed that the agency is having a harder time tracking down potential attackers, Swedish radio broadcaster Sveriges Radio reports.
“We see, above all, that the type of attack threat we handle does not come from established networks in the same way as before, but there are unknown actors, where we have not received information about them earlier, which means that it will be more complex to assess.”
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Since the attacks in Paris in late 2015 and the Brussels bombing in early 2016, terror attacks have largely become less coordinated and more improvised, often using vehicles — as in the case of the Stockholm attack last year, the Berlin Christmas market attack, and the Nice attack in which 86 people lost their lives.
“What we saw earlier was more of a kind of spectacular attack, well-planned, well-executed, with trained attackers who demanded an advanced plan, advanced weapons, access to bombs and a network of contacts. Today, we see that you can go from a quick thought to an implementation in just a few hours,” Hallström said.
“And it is clear that it is a challenge for us to be able to judge that kind of intention, because the ability in the form of a crime tool is almost entirely in its vicinity, in the form of a kitchen knife or a car,” he added.
According to figures released last year, Sweden is home to around 2,000 violent Islamic radicals, and according to Swedish researcher Peder Hyllengren of the Swedish Defence College the Scandinavian country has become a “base” for international Islamic extremists.
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