Krekar into hiding after shootings

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Mullah Krekar reportedly was under police protection at an undisclosed location after unknown intruders tried to enter his flat in Oslo and fired shots through an open window. Norwegian media reported that the former head of a guerrilla group in Iraq has shared his own list of suspects in the attack with police.

Newspaper VG and Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported Wednesday that Krekar and his family suspect that members of Kurdish political parties in Northern Iraq were behind the attack on Krekar’s home earlier this week.

At around 2:30am on Monday, several persons tried to break into Krekar’s flat in Oslo’s Tøyen district. They also fired shots into one of the flat’s windows, wounding Krekar’s son-in-law who was visiting from London. Krekar and his family were evacuated and have since been under police protection.

Newspaper Aftenposten reported that Norwegian police were tipped back in 2004 that several people from Northern Iraq, which Krekar fled in the early 1990s, were on their way to Oslo to assassinate Krekar. Now Krekar reportedly also suspects Kurdish politicians in Monday’s attack. He’s an unpopular figure in some circles for leading the guerrilla group Ansar al-Islam in Iraq. Some governments have branded Krekar as a terror suspect, not least after he repeatedly has expressed support for Osama bin Laden.

Krekar, who came to Norway as a refugee, has since been deemed a threat to national security. Efforts to deport him, however, have been unsuccessful.

Now the Norwegian police are charged with ensuring his safety, while Monday’s shooting episode has frightened his neighbours. Siv Jensen of the Progress Party has renewed calls for Krekar to be held in police custody, not least to remove him as a threat to those around him.

Police say they’re searching for two young men seen running from the area around Krekar’s home. Investigators were examining video tape from surveillance cameras in the area, and ruled out a connection between the attack and a fire that broke out almost simultaneously in a parked car nearby.