By Ole Petter Skonnord
Militant Islamists with ties to Syria may be planning an attack in Norway, the head of the Norwegian police intelligence service said on Thursday.
“We also have information to suggest that any act of terrorism against Norway may take place shortly, probably within a few days,” said Benedicte Bjoernland, the director of the Police Security Service, declining to reveal the source of information. “The people (named in the threat) participated in the fighting in Syria.”
NATO-member Norway has been working to clamp down on militant activity, and in May it arrested three people suspected of aiding The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, an al Qaeda offshoot fighting in Syria.
Also in May, the spy chief of neighbouring Sweden said the country’s biggest security threat came from around 200 Islamists who could become involved in militant attacks, including young people radicalised after fighting in Syria.
A botched suicide bomb attack four years ago in Stockholm and the conviction in 2012 of three Swedes for plotting to kill people at a Danish newspaper after it published cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in 2005 have shown the Nordic countries are not immune to attacks.
Norway’s biggest peacetime attack came three years ago when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people, mostly teenagers at Labour party’s youth camp, in a bombing and gun attack. Breivik said the attack was a fight against Muslim immigration.
Bjoernland said Norway often received such threats, many of which are not deemed credible, but an initial investigation actually strengthened the threat’s credibility.