Terrorism in the Nordics - Statistics & Facts

As recently as a few years ago, incidents of terrorism in the Nordics were thought of as unlikely to happen. Even though terrorism is still rare in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden, terrorist acts during the past 20 years have shown that they can happen in these otherwise peaceful countries too. In 2011, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik claimed a total of 77 lives in Norway in an attack against the main government building in Oslo and against a political youth camp on the island of Utøya. Four years later, two people died after Islamist motivated terrorist acts in Denmark. In 2017, an Islamic terrorist claimed five lives and injured 14 people after a stolen truck was deliberately steered into a crowded shopping street in Stockholm in Sweden. Then, in 2019, a Norwegian right-extremist who planned to raid a mosque killed one person before being overmanned, and in Finland, a man killed one and injured 10 at a college. Despite these attacks, the Nordics were some countries in the world affected the least by terrorism.

Increasing concern of likeliness of terrorist attack

However, as a result of the attacks in the Nordic countries, but also due to an increasing focus on terrorism in the world, the share of people who think that a terrorist attack could occur increased during recent years. According to a survey from 2018 on the probability of a terrorist attack in Sweden, 64 percent of the respondents considered an attack as quite likely or very likely to occur within the next five years. In the same report, only around one third of Swedes were of the opinion that their country was prepared for a terrorist attack to an adequate extent. In Denmark, the share of people who were worried that a terrorist attack would occur rose after the terrorist attack in 2015, but then decreased since 2017. In Norway, nearly one third of the respondents in a survey was very concerned that a terrorist attack would hit the country within the next five years.

Global terrorism

Even though terrorism in Europe decreased after a few larger attacks between 2015 and 2017, both the number of terrorist attacks and victims of these on a global scale has increased. Most of the attacks happen in poorly developed countries, and Afghanistan was the country mostly affected by terrorism in 2021. On a world basis, most of the terrorist attacks are committed by Islamic terrorist organizations, with Taliban behind the highest number in 2019. To combat these organizations, international peacekeeping missions have been established in several of the countries affected the hardest by terrorism. Worldwide, nearly 30,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks in 2020.

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