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Finland erects concrete barriers against possible terror attack

Finnish police mobilised Monday evening in an operation aimed at heading off a possible terror attack in the capital Helsinki. Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation said it had received information suggesting preparations for a possible strike.

Temppeliaukion kirkon eteen pystytetyt betoniesteet, 19. kesäkuuta.
Police have placed concrete barriers outside a landmark church in the Finnish capital. Image: Irene Stachon / Lehtikuva

On Monday evening the National Bureau of Investigation said that information had come to its attention indicating that a possible terrorist attack was afoot in the Finnish capital, Helsinki. According to its sources the potential target was the iconic Church of the Rock or Temppeliaukio Church in the Töölö district.

"We are still investigating. We can only say that police have received information which after an assessment led to a visible police operation, and also to the fact that we are now investigating suspected offences relating to planning a terrorist attack," said the NBI’s chief inspector Tero Haapala.

Search for suspects on Sunday

By a visible police operation, Haapala was referring to the erection of concrete obstacles in front of the church, as well as a raid that took place on Sunday, in which police searched for suspects in the district near the church.

Poliisioperaatio Etu-Töölössä Helsingissä.
Police descended on Helsinki's Töölö neighbourhood on Sunday in a search for possible suspects. Image: Emmi Korhonen / Lehtikuva

"There is no longer any reason or need for the kind of visible operation that we had yesterday [Sunday]," Haapala revealed.

Haapala would not divulge information about the kind of strike that may have been planned, who might have been behind it, or a possible motive. He said that he also could not reveal how far the suspected plan had progressed or whether it involved one of more people in different locations.

"By plan we mean that it was not at the attempted stage or at the stage of a completed act," he said.

The NBI official called for calm.

"Our task is to combat all threats in advance as far as the opportunity allows. That is the day-to-day work of the police and many of these things are not detected by ordinary citizens. In this case we wanted to act pre-emptively and neutralise a potential situation in advance. In that sense, people can rest assured that the police are continually reviewing the security situation and are making situational assessments with the information that’s available," he concluded.

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