Finland: five men who were preparing a terrorist attack were arrested

Terrorism arrests in Finland are rare (Photo: REUTERS) (LEHTIKUVA /)

Five men “in their mid-25s” who were placed in pre-trial detention on terrorism charges on Friday are far-right extremists suspected of planning a bomb and firearm attackFinnish police said.

“The subjects of the pretrial investigation show accelerationist tendencies of the extreme right“Said the specialist researcher Eero Pietila, of the security services, in a press conference, adding that is the first suspected case of far-right terrorism in Finland.

The accelerationism it is a white supremacist ideology that has been linked to mass shootings in the United States, in which the followers aim to sow division and interracial tensions in society.

The five suspected men will appear before a judge in southwestern Finland on Friday, authorities added. They were arrested Tuesday and they all live in Kankaanpaa, in the southwest of the country. Police added that there was no danger to the public.

According to the Finnish news channel MTV, the suspects are all men and face charges related to explosives.

In a March update, Finnish security services, Supo, said they would keep the terror threat at “high,” the second lowest level on a four-point scale. However, they warned that the risk of far-right extremism was “more worrisome” than the previous year.

Rescue personnel in the 2017 attack (Photo: REUTERS)
Rescue personnel in the 2017 attack (Photo: REUTERS) (REUTERS /)

Terrorism arrests in Finland are rare. The country’s first prosecution on terrorism charges occurred in 2018, when a rejected Moroccan asylum seeker, Abderrahman Bouanane, stabbed ten people and killed two, in the southwestern city of Turku.

The moroccan that perpetuated the attack on that occasion was a asylum seeker who specifically targeted women in his attack. The police detained him in a A square in the center of Turku, in the south-west of the country, after he was shot in the leg.

“We believe the attacker was especially targeting women, and that the men were injured after having come to their defense ”, the superintendent had explained to journalists Christa Granroth, from the Finnish National Bureau of Investigation.

According to later reports, Bouanane was identified as a soldier of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). He had been radicalized three months before the stabbing occurred, and, during the investigation, it was discovered that he possessed ISIS propaganda material and a video of him reciting a manifesto.

On June 15, 2018, Bouanane was convicted of murder with terrorist intent on two counts and attempted murder with terrorist intent on eight counts. He was sentenced to life imprisonment. The verdict was described as the first time someone has been convicted of a terrorist crime in Finland.

(With information from AFP)

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