Terror threat raises some royal concerns

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Norway’s royal family plans to travel to Stockholm this weekend for the Swedish king’s 70th birthday celebrations, but heighened terror concerns in Sweden may alter the party program. Officials at the Royal Palace are staying mum.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on Tuesday that Norwegian police are now re-evaluating the travel arrangements and security around the royal family. That comes after news broke Tuesday morning that Swedish police have received information from Iraqi intelligence officials that seven to eight Islamic terrorists from the IS organization are in Sweden and plan an attack in Stockholm.

Heightened state of preparedness
That reportedly has sent Swedish authorities into a state of emergency preparedness. Swedish newspaper Expressen reported that the Swedish security police agency Säpo has set up a special team after receiving the tips that IS terrorists are believed to be planning attacks on civilian targets in Stockholm.

Säpå reportedly has been unable to substantiate the information and was continuing to evaluate it, while preparing to call in extra personnel and resources.

“I can confirm that we’re working intensely with the information we have,” Simon Bynert, a spokesman for Säpo, told Sveriges Radio on Tuesday. Swedish authorities, who lowered the terror threat rating from “four” to “three” on a scale of “five” earlier this year, had not raised it as of midday.

Major royal presence
King Harald, Queen Sonja, Crown Prince Haakon, Crown Princess Mette-Marit, Princess Martha Louise and her husband Ari Behn are all invited and plan to be present when Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf celebrates his 70th birthday in Stockholm on Saturday. Current plans call for the Norwegian royals to travel to Stockholm Saturday morning.

“We have contact with Swedish and Norwegian authorities and are evaluating the situation,” Unni Grøndahl of the Oslo Police District told NRK.

King Carl Gustaf’s birthday celebrations were already beginning in Sweden on Tuesday, climaxing with the gala events planned on Saturday when many visiting royals will also be present. The Norwegian and Swedish royal families have long and close connections, with the Norwegian royal family well-represented on the guest list.

Palace officials weren’t commenting on whether the royal party plans were in danger. “We never comment on security around the royal family,” Sven Gjeruldsen, a palace spokesman, told NRK.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund