Wednesday 10/20/21
TERRORIST THREAT

Helsinki police increase vigilance after jihadist attacks in Europe

"Whenever a terrorism-related incident occurs in Europe, we prepare for someone to copy it here as well," Chief Inspector Seppo Kujala explained.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto said that crimes such as those perpetrated in Nice or Vienna "make one wonder if there are more actors or cells on the move".

File photo of a police patrol vehicle near the port of Helsinki. Photo: Foreigner.fi.
File photo of a police patrol vehicle near the port of Helsinki. Photo: Foreigner.fi.

Helsinki police said Tuesday that it has increased "visible surveillance" and the "preparedness" of its officers following the terrorist attacks carried out in recent weeks by Islamist radicals in France and Austria.

"No concrete threat is known," but patrols and units must be prepared now "to react quickly to possible situations, if necessary," the capital city's police department wrote in Twitter.

In practice, this means that citizens of the capital area are likely to notice an increased police presence in the streets as a precautionary measure, as the head of the alarm and surveillance unit, Chief Inspector Seppo Kujala, explained to the Finnish broadcasting company (Yle).

"The situation looks normal but of course we are preparing. This is a routine measure. Whenever a terrorism-related incident occurs in Europe, we prepare for someone to copy it here as well," this police expert said.

"We need to react to possible situations quickly and that means that resources need to be as close as possible. That can only be accomplished by increasing [the number of] patrols," Kujala added.

The Finnish Intelligence Service (SUPO) warned a few days ago that they have identified individuals with the "motivation and ability" to carry out attacks in Finland.

"Some people have moved to Finland from conflict zones after participating in and otherwise supporting the operations of armed groups," the security center warns.

Haavisto: "More cells on the move?"

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pekka Haavisto, also referred to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Vienna upon his arrival at a government meeting.

According to Haavisto, crimes such as those perpetrated in Nice or Vienna “make one wonder if there are more actors or cells on the move prepared for such attacks. Of course, in Finland the Intelligence Service and authorities monitor such threats."

To date, Finland has been one of the countries least hit by terrorism in Europe. The only jihadist attack was a mass stabbing that took place in Turku in August 2017.

The perpetrator, Abderrahman Bouanane, a rejected asylum seeker from Morocco, killed 2 women and injured 8 other people in the name of the Islamic State (ISIS).

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