Imminent terror attack on Norway

UPDATED: “We are now in a situation where there is a specific terror threat against Norway,” said Justice and Public Security Minister Anders Anundsen as he opened an emergency press conference with the Police Security Service (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste, PST) on Thursday morning. PST chief Benedicte Bjørnland said the service had received information from abroad, indicating that people affiliated with a group in Syria were planning a terrorist attack on Norway within a few days.

“Measures have been taken to meet this threat,” Anundsen told reporters. It was believed the group posing the threat had taken part in fighting in the Syrian conflict. It was not clear whether any Norwegian citizens were connected to the group, or if any person living in Norway or on their way into the country was involved.

Openness as a deterrent
“The information we have received indicates that this is a limited threat,” said Bjørnland, but was unclear on how many days she expected the heightened threat level to remain in place. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that PST had put the case at the highest threat level, and officers had been recalled from their summer breaks to deal with the situation. Bjørnland said PST had gone public with the information in the hopes that greater transparency would act as a deterrent.

Acting police chief Vidar Refvik said officers were working to verify the information and get more details. He said that while the threat was credible, no particular target had been identified, so it was difficult to advise Norwegians to take any specific measures at this stage.

Anundsen did, however, ask Norwegians to be more wary in the coming days. “As citizens, one must be a little more vigilant than usual,” he said. “At the same time it’s important that we do not condemn individual groups in society.”

Targets unclear, Norway Cup looms
Anundsen described the threat assessment as firm. “Travelers will notice this in the form of strengthened police presence at train stations, airports, at border crossings, main roads and many other places. The police they see will be armed.”

Norway’s defense forces (Forsvaret) were on a heightened level of alert, preparing their helicopters so they could be deployed from Rygge airport in 15 minutes, rather than the standard two hours.

Neither the minister, PST nor police would speculate on whether the international Norway Cup football tournament in Oslo that starts this weekend could be a potential target. Tens of thousands of children and spectators from all over the world are expected at the tournament, which starts on Sunday at Ekebergsletta.

Radicalization in Syria
Both PST and Norway’s military intelligence service (Etterretningstjenesten, or E-tjenesten) warned earlier this year the biggest threat to Norway’s security came from Muslim extremists. About 50 Norwegians so far were believed to have traveled to fight with rebels in the Syrian civil war, before returning to Norway more radicalized with combat training and weapons knowledge.

Bjørnland said PST did receive tips from time to time about specific threats against Norway, but investigations had always quickly revealed they lacked credibility. She said this time, that was not the case.

“It is very seldom that PST goes out with such specific warnings about a possible terrorist attack,” police academy researcher Cato Hemmingby told NTB. “That suggests they are taking the threat very seriously.” He said terrorists tended to attack symbolic targets, like government buildings, airports, train stations and other places where crowds gathered: “Attacks against civilian targets in a public space have large potential for damage and are difficult to handle.”

“In countries including England they’ve seen attacks planned by people who have come home from the Syrian conflict, or attacks which are planned from Syria,” Hemmingby added. “This shows that the Syrian conflict also now affects us at home. It is not surprising. Countries like England and France have been feeling this for some time.”

Threat can be cancelled
Hemmingby said as a rule, terror threats were usually cancelled. Even though the current threat was serious, it was important not to get carried away.

Terror researcher and security studies lecturer Atle Mesøy told NRK it was unlikely a large international terrorist group like Al-Qaida or ISIL would threaten Norway. “It is closer to imagine a small group with connections to Norway, which has fought together with a larger group,” he said.

“We have long been aware that people from Norway and other Western countries have connected with groups with ties to Al-Qaida, and particularly ISIL,” said journalist and Norwegian Jihad author Lars Akerhaug. “It is unfortunately not surprising that Norway can also be a target.”

NRK reported a condensed version of the story in English (external link). Woodgate

  • Gabrielle Bekkvang

    we keep allowing extremists into Norway because of the conflict in their homelands. this needs to stop…there is no room for Islam in Norway, a Christian country of Peace. Islamic beliefs state that they must kill us ‘vanntro’ non believers of Islam. Do Our politicians not see the problem in England and France? And I take offense in my tax dollars going to Palestine to support a government of terrorists who wish to see us dead!!!

    • Rich_Norway

      Correct on all points. Do not let these people into your peaceful country, they will ruin it. The UK is in a complete mess and is getting worse by the day. If too many are allowed to enter they will outbreed Norwegians and then will be able to do as they please. You will not be treated as niceley as they have been.

      • John Palmer

        Totally agree with the two above comments. While some Muslims are a welcome addition, some are not. How to differentiate?

        • BobBobbyBobertsen

          Norwegians killed by Muslim immigrants in the past 5 years: ZERO

          Norwegians killed in same time period by anti-Muslim ideologues (who share your world view): 77

          You have a lot to answer for Mr. Palmer.

    • BobBobbyBobertsen

      There is plenty of room for Muslims in Norway, because the Muslim immigrants here aren’t killing people. The people that share you view of Muslims, they’re the ones doing the killing. Where were you when ABB, an anti-Muslim crusader of your ilk, was killing 77 innocent Norwegians just three years ago?

      A possible threat from an extremist Muslim group, that most Muslims have never even heard of, and you’re demanding that Muslims not be allowed in. Did you make such demands of people like yourself because of what Anders Breivik did? If not, you’re a hypocrite, plain and simple. I’m more worried about the danger from people like you in Norway than of the average Muslim immigrant here. There is no reasoning with a bigot though, so I’m wasting my time on you. I hope you and the 35+ fools who upvoted you in their mob mentality do not become violent, if they’re not already.

      • John Palmer

        I’m not worried about the average Muslim immigrant. Nor do I condone mob mentality. Religion is the root of evil. All radicals. But those who identify with a group bare some responsiblity for other group members. There aren’t enough “good people” of any religion willing to come down on the radicals of their own group.
        And I have nothing to answer for.

        • Gabrielle Bekkvang

          Hey John, totally agree With you on the radicals/extremists of any religious persuasion. I have no use for extremists whether they be muslims, baptists, catholics, presbetyrians, budists, hindus etc. They are a danger to the minds of the Young and gullible. Hope for Peace!!

      • Gabrielle Bekkvang

        Well Bob, if you read my post it says nothing about muslims. My best friend is muslim, my cousin is married to a black man and I have native american friends. A bigot I am not!!! I refer to extremists, Islamists. Sharia Law spouting People who believe a woman should be behind doors or under a burka!!

      • Gabrielle Bekkvang

        Oh and Bob…if you are speaking of Brevik, I believe he IS a terrorist and has it too soft in a Norwegian prison. As a terrorist I think Norway should have brokered a deal With the US and sent him to Guantanamo!! He should never be freed. He killed many innocent children and their families continue to suffer as Brevik has everything he needs in his prison 3 room cell!!!

    • tapp

      @gabriellebekkvang:disqus Norway allows radicals to take immigration status because Norway does not know and cannot know who these people really are. Itsa blind guess. they don’t have always the best quality of records on them, or ID, or papers. It can turn out a thoroughly peaceful and productive muslim person or he can end up a hater of Norway with Norwgian citizenship. Closing borders and denying asylum to peope who often deserve it and need it, is a step back from whatever Norway represents culturally.

  • Adrian

    It may be a red flag for attack in Norway or it maybe not? We muslims are not strong enough to protect our children, not to think about attacking somebody else that has at least responsibility for our situation. If we could attack somebody, it is Israel that deserves it. Because, Norwegian people were the strongest opposition to the Israel terror over Gaza, this can be the best way how to neutralize Norwegian impact to the situation. I am not sure if there will be an attack, but just you know that is planned by Israel. When they did against their natural allies, why wouldnt do that to Norway?!

  • John Palmer

    I didn’t read it carefully about the “no room for Muslims.” Sorry. I do think youll agree that you need to be careful whom you allow in. Krekaur (sp?) for example? A truly multi-cultural society has much to offer when the various components are tolerant.

    • Gabrielle Bekkvang

      I never said ‘no room for muslims’. I said no room for Islam…

  • Dexter

    That is what our government is doing here in the United States , it is the big plan to separate us and try to turn us into a one world religion… That will not happen without a lot of casualties on both sides … I feel for you and your country .. God Bless.

  • Forrest Roberts Lambert II

    BBB, I’ll send you 90,000 undocumented illegal aliens and you can send me any Christians that want to live here.

  • Gabrielle Bekkvang

    I think you are the bigot Bob

  • BobBobbyBobertsen

    I do not tolerate intolerance and bigotry, I won’t apologize for that. Those who rejoice at any news event that gives them the opportunity to defame and disparage all Muslims, do not deserve a reasonable debate. The remarks made by the people I was responding to were offensive, I am not the one who started the name-calling.

  • Gabrielle Bekkvang

    wow…you’e nasty