On Wednesday, June 14, Finland’s security services (SUPO) announced that they are increasing the national threat level in response to recent threats from the Islamic State (IS) which could target the country. Finland’s threat level, previously rated “low,” has been upgraded to “elevated,” the second lowest on a scale of four.
Authorities said that the decision to raise the threat level was made in response to the rise of Finnish foreign fighters into high level positions within IS. The SUPO is currently closely monitoring 350 individuals.
This decision also follows an audio message purportedly released by the Islamic State (IS) on Monday, June 12, calling on members to carry out attacks on a specific group of countries during the remainder of the holy month of Ramadan, which ends on June 25. In the message - which has yet to be independently authenticated - a man whose voice reportedly matches that of IS spokesman Abi al-Hassan al-Muhajer instructs members to carry out attacks throughout Europe as well as in Iraq, Syria, Iran, the United States, Russia, Australia, and the Philippines.
Europe has seen a number of major terrorist attacks over the past two years perpetrated or allegedly inspired by IS, most recently in London on June 3 and in Manchester on May 22. In March 2016, two explosions at the Brussels-Zaventem International Airport (BRU), followed by another explosion at the Maelbeek metro station, killed 30. On November 13, 2015, terrorists killed at least 130 people in coordinated attacks across Paris.
Individuals in Finland are advised to exercise vigilance, report any suspicious objects or behavior to the local authorities (particularly when in crowded places), cooperate with authorities, and always carry appropriate identification.