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Security police: Increased radical Islamist threat in Finland

Finland faces heightened risks from links between radical Islam and terrorism, according to a fresh report by Finland’s security and intelligence police unit Supo. The unit points to the ongoing Syrian conflict as a source of the increased threat.

Suojelupoliisin ovi Helsingissä.
Finland's security and intelligence police, Supo Image: Yle

According to the Supo assessment, in spite of the increased risk of radical Islam fomenting terrorism, Finland is still not a primary target for terrorist organisations.

The security police add that the risk of al-Qaeda-led attacks against Finland or Finns is still low, even though around 40 people have travelled from Finland to Syria to join Islamist groups there.

According to Tuomas Portaankorva of Supo there is an ongoing traffic of fighters between Finland and Syria, with some returning from the war and others going back to Syria after a break in Finland.

"They can take on a more radical world view than before," said Supo head Antti Pelttari.

The evaluation of an increased threat refers to violence that may be perpetrated within local borders without external guidance. Interior Minister Päivi Räsänen says that Finland has around 200 higher-risk individuals.

"We have more of those high risk individuals, they have more contact to extremist ideologies and extremist actions," said Räsänen. "They have been there, received training. That's why this threat level has been raised."

Supo said that there are more people in Finland with links to terrorist organisations. They unit reports increased numbers of people travelling to conflict areas in Syria as well as those who have returned from engaging in war tourism.

According to Supo it has no information about concrete terrorism operations targeting Finland. However the intelligence organization has warned that the operations of networks with links to Syria and the activities of private individuals are unpredictable and difficult to anticipate.

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