Five men suspected of planning a far-right motivated bomb and gun attack have been arrested, Finnish police said on Friday.
The men are from the southwestern municipality of Kankaanpaa and were born between the years 1995 and 1998. They were arrested on Tuesday morning after being under surveillance for two years, police said.
Finnish radio station Yle reported that some of them had previous convictions.
Police say the arrests mark Finland's first case of suspected far-right terrorism.
What is the ideology of the suspects?
Residents of Kankaanpaa who knew some of the suspects said that one was a skinhead and that two others were allegedly neo-Nazis.
According to police, the men follow "accelerationism”. This white supremacist ideological tendency aims at fomenting racial division in society and has been linked to mass shootings in the United States.
Police said that group did not appear to belong to an extremist organization. "A small group like this which idealizes terrorist violence works in secret and their activity does not appear to belong to an extremist organization.”
What kind of weapons did the suspects have?
Material found in the men's possession "reinforces the impression that they have become radicalized and gives reason to suspect them of terrorist offences."
One police photo showed one of the suspects wearing a balaclava and holding a handgun and a machete, while another showed a semi-automatic rifle, homemade explosive devices and bundles of dynamite.
A significant quantity of guns, ammunition and explosives were recovered during a home search in December 2019 when the men were arrested on firearm charges. A photo released by the police showed a semi-automatic weapon, bundles of dynamite
Police said that the pre-trial investigations into the five suspects will take a number of months. Prosecutors have given the police until March 31 of next year to press charges.
sdi/aw (AFP, dpa)