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NBI believes it has prevented impending school attack through Net monitoring
Finland's central criminal police arm, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), believes it has prevented a serious attack on a Finnish school through closer policing of Internet traffic.
Speaking on Monday to the late-edition tabloid Ilta-Sanomat, Detective Chief Inspector Tero Haapala said that the planned attack "was within an inch or two of being carried out".
The case came to light in connection with examination of Internet traffic in the wake of the shootings at a school in Kauhajoki in September in which ten were killed by a gunman who then took his own life.
Police are not divulging details of the planned attack.
Chief of Police Mikko Paatero was for instance unwilling to say where in Finland the attack had been directed.
According to information received by Ilta-Sanomat, a preliminary criminal investigation has already been launched into the matter.
Haapala did not confirm this, however. He stated that it is difficult to build a case in an incident of the mere planning of such a strike, in anything other than a matter of wilful destruction, for example blowing up premises, as noted in the Penal Code.
Police have earlier reported that in the weeks after the Jokela killings (in November 2007) and the latest Kauhajoki incident a number of young men have been sent for treatment under court orders.
They had divulged provisional plans at varying stages of gestation for explosions or for the shooting of school pupils. Lesser cases could lead to out-patient care or medication.
Haapalan reported to Ilta-Sanomat that the police had received a good deal of help from the rest of the Net community in their trawling through risk individuals online.
In the case of both the Jokela and Kauhajoki shootings, the gunman had made little secret of his intentions, publishing manifestos and a good deal of material on online sites such as YouTube.
In the latter incident, police were actually alerted to the perpetrator Matti Juhani Saari shortly before the September 23rd killings, but he was not arrested and it was only after an interview with police that he posted the most alarming images and threats.