Security forces in Sweden have arrested five suspected Islamists on suspicion of terrorism in connection with protests after a Koran burning in January, the Swedish Security Service (Säpo) said on Tuesday.
“We assume that there are international connections, especially to the terrorist organisation (Islamic State),’’ said Susanna Trehörning, the Säpo official in charge.
She made her comments to the TT news agency.
The five men were arrested in coordinated operations in the cities of Eskilstuna, Linköping and Strängnäs, she said.
A Koran burning by a right-wing politician in Sweden in January caused trouble with NATO member, Turkey.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Sweden could not count on his support for its NATO application despite the Swedish government condemning the attack.
Erdoğan is in the middle of an election campaign and his stance played well with his conservative and religious voter base.
One of Ankara’s main concerns, however, remained what it said was a lack of cooperation from Stockholm in fighting terrorism as Sweden refuses to extradite 120 people viewed by Ankara as terrorists.
All 30 NATO members must agree to new applicants and 28 have already done so. Only Hungary and Turkey were still missing.
Ankara recently gave up its opposition to Finland’s accession, so Sweden’s neighbour would become the 31st member on Tuesday.
Following the January Koran burning, there has been a significant increase in threats against Sweden and Swedish interests, Trehörning said.
According to Säpo’s assessment, no immediate attack is imminent. The prosecution must decide by Friday whether to remand the five men in custody.