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Radical Islamist threat on the rise in Finland

There is a rising risk of Islam-related terrorism in Finland, revealed a recent report, with the ongoing Syrian conflict a key factor in the threat.

Intelligence police unit Supo, however, assured people in Finland that although there was a heightened radical Islam presence in Finland, the country was not a “primary target” for terrorist groups. It added that the threat of al-Qaeda-organised attacks remained low, despite the fact that around 40 people were known to have left Finland to take part in the Syrian conflict.

Supo spokesman Tuomas Portaankorva explained that the traffic between the Nordic nation and Syria was “ongoing” with some coming back to Finland after having fought with Islamist groups and others returning to Syria after taking a break in Finland. Head of Supo, Antti Pelttari, admitted that these people could potentially have a “more radical view” than before they joined the conflict.

The summary that Finland faces an increased threat of Islamist-related violence refers to attacks that could be carried out within the country, without external cooperation. According to Interior Minister Paivi Rasanene, the country is now home to an estimated 200 “higher-risk individuals”.

The minister said that there were more high-risk people, who have been in closer contact with groups and individuals with extremist ideologies and actions. He added that the threat level had been increased because these individuals who were returning to Finland had received training in Syria.

Sope revealed that more people in the Nordic country now had links to terrorist groups, but it admitted that it had no information regarding terrorist groups planning to target Finland. However, it added that it was unpredictable and hard to anticipate the activities of groups with ties to Syria.