France attacked as Oslo recalls its own

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Prime Minister Erna Solberg has expressed shock and deep sympathy for “all the people of France” following the attack in Nice by a lone terrorist who’d been living in the city. The attack occurred, Solberg noted, just as Norway is about to remember one of its own resident’s attacks on Oslo and the island of Utøya, five years ago next week.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, shown here at a security conference in Munich earlier this year, wrote that the attack on Nice this week carried reminders of the attacks in Oslo five years ago next week. PHOTO: MSC/Zwez

Prime Minister Erna Solberg, shown here at a security conference in Munich earlier this year, wrote that the attack on Nice this week carried reminders of the attacks in Oslo five years ago next week. PHOTO: MSC/Zwez

“The attack in Nice is an unpleasant reminder about how fragile our security can be,” Solberg wrote in a commentary published in newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) on Saturday. “That so many people were killed makes it an even more unpleasant curtain-raiser to our own marking of the fifth anniversary of July 22, 2011 next week.”

Solberg claimed that many steps have been taken to improve security in Norway in the years after the “nightmare” at the government headquarters, which was bombed, and on Utøya, where 69 people were gunned down in a massacre carried out by a young ultra-right-wing Norwegian man.

While debate and criticism continues over Norway’s state of preparedness for attack, Solberg claims the country is now better able to handle one but admitted that “it is impossible to issue a guarantee that we will never be rammed by terror again. The threat level has changed in a negative direction in recent years.”

The brutal terror organization ISIL claimed responsibility on Saturday for the attack in Nice on Thursday night, carried out by a 31-year-old Tunisian-French resident of Nice who was married and had children. Solberg noted how Norway is actively involved in the fight against ISIL, contributing special forces and helping train Iraqi and other forces. Foreign Minister Børge Brende and Defense Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide plan to travel to Washington DC next week for a meeting of the US-led “core group” of countries fighting ISIL. Brende told Oslo newspaper VG that he views the terror network as-Nusra as a steadily more powerful enemy in Syria as well, and that the US and Russia must also work together to stop it.

Solberg, meanwhile, wrote how France has “paid a high price” the past few years after suffering three major terrorist attacks. She called the Nice attacks “terrible, evil, brutal and meaningless,” while King Harald V also sent condolences to French President Francois Hollande.

“Once again we’re reminded by the tragedy that has hit France of how important it is to preserve our central democratic values, the values that had just been celebrated on the 14th of July (France’s national day),” Norway’s  monarch wrote in his letter to Hollande. “On behalf of myself and the Norwegian people, I send my deepest condolences and I ask you to bring my condolences and deep sympathy to those who lost loved ones and to the French people.”

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund