April 26, 2016 / 2:02 PM / 2 years ago

Sweden on alert for possible IS attack in capital: local media

STOCKHOLM/BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Sweden has received intelligence about a possible attack on the capital by Islamic State militants, local media reported on Tuesday, and security services said they were investigating undisclosed information.

Newspapers Aftonbladet and Expressen as well as public broadcaster Swedish Radio, citing unnamed sources, said the information related to the threat of an attack, possibly in the capital Stockholm.

Expressen reported Swedish security police (SAPO) had received intelligence from Iraq that seven or eight Islamic State fighters had entered Sweden with the intention of attacking civilian targets.

A security police spokeswoman said she would not comment on any specific details of a threat, but said it was working with regular police as well as national and international partners.

“Security police are working intensively to assess received information, and it is of such a nature that our judgment is that we can not dismiss it,” she said.

An Iraqi security source said six Iraqis had left Iraq in February 2015 and entered Sweden via Turkey.

The ringleader is a veteran insurgent who was close to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, leader of IS forerunner al Qaeda, and current IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the source said. He was imprisoned multiple times by U.S. forces in Iraq during their occupation.

“They want to conduct special operations to force Sweden to withdraw from the international military coalition (against Islamic State),” the source said, referencing recent attacks in Paris and Brussels.

Sweden has not been hit by a large-scale militant attack, but a man is currently is awaiting a verdict for allegedly building a suicide bomb with the intent of staging an attack in Sweden. In 2010 a suicide bomber died when his bomb belt went off prematurely in central Stockholm.

Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported Norwegian police were assessing whether or not the Norwegian royal family should proceed with a planned trip to Stockholm this weekend to celebrate the Swedish king’s 70th birthday, given the supposed threat.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm and Daniel Dickson, additional reporting by Terje Solsvik and Stephen Kalin in Baghdad; Editing by Alistair Scrutton and Jeremy Gaunt

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