Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
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Stockholm Accuses Iran of Using Criminals in Sweden to Target Israel

A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo
A police vehicle on patrol in Sweden. Reuters file photo

Sweden's domestic security agency on Thursday accused Iran of using established criminal networks in Sweden as a proxy to target Israeli or Jewish interests in the Scandinavian country.
The accusations were raised at a news conference by Daniel Stenling, the head of the SAPO agency's counterespionage unit, following a series of events earlier this year.
In late January, the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm was sealed off after what was then described as “a dangerous object” was found on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in an eastern Stockholm neighborhood. Swedish media said the object was a hand grenade.
The embassy was not evacuated and the object was eventually destroyed. No arrests were made and authorities did not say what was found. On May 17, gunshots were heard near the Israeli Embassy in Stockholm and the area was cordoned off. No one was arrested.
According to The Associated Press, Stenling said, without offering specifics or evidence to back up his assertion, that the agency "can establish that criminal networks in Sweden are used as a proxy by Iran.”
“It is very much about planning and attempts to carry out attacks against Israeli and Jewish interests, goals and activities in Sweden," he said and added that the agency sees "connections between criminal individuals in the criminal networks and individuals who are connected to the Iranian security services.”
Justice Minister Gunnar Strömmer and Hampus Nygårds, deputy head of the Swedish police's National Operations Department, were also at the online news conference with Stenling.
“We see this connection between the Iranian intelligence services, the security services and precisely criminals in the criminal networks in Sweden," Stenling said. “We see that connection and it also means that we need to work much more internationally to get to the crimes and be able to prevent them.”
Stenling and the others made no mention of the recent incidents connected to the Israel Embassy and stopped short of naming any criminal groups or suspects.
Sweden has grappled with gang violence for years and criminal gangs often recruit teenagers in socially disadvantaged immigrant neighborhoods to carry out hits.
By May 15, police have recorded 85 shootings so far this year, including 12 fatal shootings. Last year, 53 people were killed and 109 were wounded in a total of 363 shootings.



Typhoon Gaemi Strengthens as it Nears Taiwan, Flights Cancelled

People walk in the rain as Typhoon Kaimi approaches in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
People walk in the rain as Typhoon Kaimi approaches in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
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Typhoon Gaemi Strengthens as it Nears Taiwan, Flights Cancelled

People walk in the rain as Typhoon Kaimi approaches in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)
People walk in the rain as Typhoon Kaimi approaches in Taipei, Taiwan, Wednesday, July 24, 2024. (AP Photo/Chiang Ying-ying)

Taiwan hunkered down on Wednesday for the arrival of a strengthening Typhoon Gaemi, with financial markets and tourist sites shut, people getting the day off work and flights cancelled, while the military went on stand-by amid forecasts of torrential rain.
Gaemi, expected to be the strongest storm to hit Taiwan in eight years, is set to make landfall on the northeast coast on Wednesday evening, the island's weather authorities said.
They upgraded its status to a strong typhoon, packing gusts of up to 227 kph (141 mph) near its center.
After crossing the Taiwan Strait it is likely to hit the southeastern Chinese province of Fujian late on Thursday afternoon.
In rural Yilan county, where the typhoon will first hit land, wind and rain gathered strength, shutting eateries as most roads emptied out.
Work and school were suspended across Taiwan, with streets almost deserted in its capital, Taipei, during the normal rush hour, amid squally rain.
The government said more than 2,000 people had been evacuated from sparsely populated mountain areas at high risk of landslides from the "extremely torrential rain".
Almost all domestic flights had been cancelled, along with 201 international flights, the transport ministry said.
All rail operations will stop from midday (0400 GMT), with an abbreviated schedule for high-speed links between north and south Taiwan that will continue to operate, it added.
The typhoon is expected to bring rain of up to 1,800 mm (70 inches) to some mountainous counties in central and southern Taiwan, weather officials said.
Taiwan's defense ministry said it had put 29,000 soldiers on stand-by for disaster relief efforts.
Gaemi and a southwest monsoon brought heavy rain on Wednesday to the Philippine capital region and northern provinces.

The rains set off at least a dozen landslides and floods over five days, killing at least eight and displacing 600,000 people, including 35,000 who went to emergency shelters, the Philippines’ disaster risk mitigation agency said.
A landslide buried a rural shanty Tuesday in Agoncillo town in Batangas province, and the bodies of a pregnant woman and three children, aged 9 to 15, were dug out Wednesday morning, raising the toll in the country to 12 dead.