The world mourned with Norway after the terrorist attacks on July 22 but now come reports that several Norwegian embassies and institutions abroad also have received threats in the weeks since. Police believe the individuals and organizations behind the threats are merely trying to grab attention, but they’re all being taken seriously.
Newspaper Aftenposten reported over the weekend that “concrete” threats have come both in written and oral form, and led to higher security measures at their intended targets. Among them are Norway’s embassies in Helsinki and Amman.
The embassy in Helsinki received a written threat which was immediately passed on to both Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste) and to Finnish security authorities for evaluation.
A threat also came in to the seemingly peaceful Norwegian Institute in Rome, which is part of the University of Oslo and where students and researchers study archaeology, art and cultural history related to Italy and the Mediterranean. The institute received a short telephone call warning of a possible attack.
“It was disturbing but not dramatic,” institute leader Turid Karlsen Seim told Aftenposten. “We followed up with the necessary measures and the Italian police took it seriously.”
Siv Alsen of PST told Aftenposten that false threats often are made after major attacks. They generally have no substance, she said, but are viewed as real threats. “And then it’s evaluated whether they should be pursued,” she said.
Anders Behring Breivik, the confessed right-wing extremist charged with bombing Norway’s government headquarters and then shooting and killing 69 persons at a Labour Party summer camp, wrote in the so-called manifesto that he sent out just before the attacks began that he thought and hoped others would follow in his footsteps. Breivik, who referred to himself as “Commander of the Norwegian Anti-Communist Resistance Movement” when he spoke with police during his massacre, has also said the attacks were meant to launch a war against what he called “the Islamification” of Norway and Europe.
Police in Norway and 30 other countries continue to investigate whether Breivik had any helpers and whether he was part of a larger network, as he has suggested, of anti-Islamic, right-wing extremists angry with governments that they claim are allowing the formation of multi-cultural societies. Breivik, however, has refused to answer questions about his contacts or allegations that there are two other right-wing Christian terrorist cells in Norway.
Several right-wing organizations have publicly distanced themselves from Breivik, including far-right political parties like that run by Geert Wilders in The Netherlands. British right-wing extremist Paul Ray also has claimed he had nothing to do with Breivik.
Meanwhile, security has been boosted around Norwegian embassies and Norwegian government ministers, all of whom have been reminded to report all intended travel to PST. At least four ministers also have been assigned body guards, something that was unheard of in Norway just over a decade ago.
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