Swedish PM likens gang violence to domestic terrorism

The escalating gang violence in Sweden is tantamount to domestic terrorism, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said here on Monday.

His comment came after a wave of attacks, which last year killed 61 according to police statistics, has flared up since the year-end holidays, Swedish Television (SVT) reported on Monday.

In his interview with SVT, Kristersson described the past weekend as “one of the worst we have seen in a long time.”

He said that only 20 percent of gang-related murders were solved last year, and that new tools, such as anonymous witnesses, extended eavesdropping powers and stop-and-search zones, are needed to counter gang violence.

“This has come so far that we have to take measures previously not used in Sweden. We are talking about domestic terrorism, which has to be countered the same way that terrorism has historically been countered,” Kristersson said.

In recent weeks, around 20 shootings and explosions have hit Sweden, most of which in and around the capital Stockholm.

Swedish police have deployed extra resources to the capital region, and described the situation as extraordinary, TV 4 reported.

“The level of violence we are seeing now is exceptional with numerous shootings and explosions,” police inspector Gunnar Appelgren told TV 4, adding that more than half of the suspects in the latest wave of violence are “younger than 18.”

Last year, 388 shootings resulted in 61 deaths, according to statistics from the Swedish police. ■

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