ISIS are allegedly planning a “major attack” at this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Stockholm, according to reports today.
Earlier this week it was reported that Sweden was warned by intelligence services in Iraq that eight jihadis had infiltrated the country, and planned to target civilians in the capital Stockholm, in an “imminent operation.”
There was speculation that the target could be Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf’s 70th birthday, celebrated tomorrow on April 30.
But today, several British tabloids are reporting that it is the Eurovision Song Contest, due to be held in the city in just under two weeks, which is the target.
The Daily Star claims that the group of ISIS fighters who have arrived in Stockholm are said to have ties to one of the group’s top bosses, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
A BBC insider told the paper, “This is worrying for everyone about to head out there.”
Jesper Ackinger, project manager for Eurovision, was asked about this specific security threat, and said, “We are working closely with the police and have regular meetings.”
The event takes place on Saturday May 14, at the Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, before an audience of 16,000 people, with hundreds of millions of people across Europe and the rest of the world expected to watch on TV.
Recent reports told British holiday makers to be vigilant if holidaying in France, Spain or Italy this summer, where it is believed ISIS may plan more Tunisia-style beach attacks, but the Nordic countries are often considered low risk.
The first and only Islamic style terrorist incident in Sweden occurred in 2010, when an Iraq-born Swedish citizen blew himself up in the capital, killing only himself.
However, a recent report said 300 Swedish nationals have traveled to Syria to fight with ISIS, and it now appears the country is under considerable threat from terrorist attack at the hands of these eight men.
A spokesman for the Swedish security service Sapo has said, “Information has come our way that we cannot ignore.”
The threat is being taken seriously enough for the US State Department to warn citizens visiting the Scandinavian capital to be on high alert.
A statement from them says, “US citizens should exercise vigilance when in public places or using mass transportation. Be aware of immediate surroundings and avoid crowded places. Exercise particular caution during religious holidays and at large festivals or events.”
A Foreign Office spokesman in the UK has said there is a “general threat” from terrorism in Sweden and urged Britons to be “vigilant” if attending the Eurovision.