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Swedish police arrest four suspected of 'Islamist extremism'

By Ehren Wynder
Swedish police officers wait at a barrier prior to the demonstration of a man outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2023, where he announced he would burn a copy of the Koran and an Iraqi flag. Sweden's Security Police on Thursday said it arrested four people linked to "violent Islamist extremism." Photo by Caisa Rasmussen EPA-EFE
Swedish police officers wait at a barrier prior to the demonstration of a man outside the Iraqi embassy in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2023, where he announced he would burn a copy of the Koran and an Iraqi flag. Sweden's Security Police on Thursday said it arrested four people linked to "violent Islamist extremism." Photo by Caisa Rasmussen EPA-EFE

March 7 (UPI) -- Swedish police forces said Thursday they arrested four people connected to "violent Islamist extremism" in the Stockholm area.

According to a statement, Sweden's Security Police and the Swedish Police Agency suspect the four people of "preparation for terrorist offenses and serious weapons offenses."

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The Security Police said it also suspects connections to "serious organized crime."

The Swedish government last August raised its terror threat level from "elevated" to "high" due to an increased "threat of attacks from actors within violent Islamism" over the past year.

"High" is the fourth level threat on a five-level scale. This was the first time it had reached that level since 2016.

The new terror threat level is based on a strategic assessment of terrorist actors' "intention and ability to commit terrorist attacks against Sweden," government officials said.

The adjustment follows tensions caused by Swedish demonstrators burning or otherwise desecrating the Koran. The incidents led to Iraq last summer expelling Sweden's ambassador and accusing the Swedish government of "repeated permission for burning the Koran, insulting Islam and burning the Iraqi flag."

On Thursday, Sweden officially became the 32nd member of NATO. The country asked for admittance in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022, but the process was stalled in part by Turkey, which was concerned by the Swedish government's response to Islamophobic demonstrations in the country.

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