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Police, Supo received tip about 'radicalised' Turku suspect in early 2017

In early 2017, police in Southwest Finland received a tip from a member of the public that Abderrahman Mechkah - the 18 year-old, now suspected of killing two people and injuring eight others in a knife attack Friday - appeared to be radicalised and interested in extreme ideology. On Monday the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) confirmed that it had received the tip forwarded from local police, but said it contained no concrete information about plans for a terrorist attack.

Suojelupoliisin ulko-ovi Helsingissä.
Suojelupoliisi ei halunnut diplomaattiehdokasta koskavaa lausuntopyyntöä itävaltalaisten tietoon. Image: AOP

According to Yle Uutiset a foreign national contacted the Southwest Finland Police Department early in 2017 about Abderrahman Mechkah - the main suspect in a series of knife attacks Friday evening in Turku - that the young man appeared to be radicalized and was interested in extreme ideology.

The Department passed the tip on to the Finnish Security Intelligence Services Supo.

Supo's communications chief Jyri Rantala confirms that his organisation received the tip, but that no concrete information about a terrorist attack was mentioned.

Supo: Agency had  more than 1,000 similar tips

"Authorities have received over one thousand similar tips in the last two years. We try to follow up on each of them, but processing them requires serious prioritization. Tips that contain some kind of concrete threat are given first priority," he says.

Yle does not have access to information indicating in which way police reacted to the tip. 

Abderrahman Mechkah's name is not among Supo's anti-terrorism operation's list of 'people to watch'. Supo reports that about 350 individuals are being monitored closely in order to obtain information about their activities, contacts and radicalization.

In terms of absolute numbers, the amount of names on the list has risen by over 80 percent in the last few years.

Supo says it devotes most of its anti-terrorism resources to tracking the people on the list.

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