Sweden is home to at least 2,000 ISIL sympathisers who are believed to have been radicalised over the internet, the country’s spy chief revealed on Monday.
Anders Thornberg, who heads the domestic intelligence agency Säpo, said the number of ISIL loyalists had increased from a suspected 200 in 2010; a 10-fold leap.
“We have never seen anything like it before,” Mr Thornberg told the Swedish news agency TT. “We would say that it has gone from hundreds to thousands now.
“This is the ‘new normal’ … It is an historic challenge that extremist circles are growing,” he said.
Mr Thornberg said the emergence of ISIL, with its sophisticated propaganda machine that has made effective use of the internet and social media channels, had given previously disparate groups of extremists a common cause to unite around.
“We used to have different circles. We had radicalised people from North Africa, the Middle East and Somalia, but they were all separate,” …