Bomb threats roll in nationwide

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Norwegian authorities were sounding a national alarm on Tuesday after a series of bomb threats hit locations from Tromsø in the far north to a firm near the country’s biggest refinery complex in the south. The state police bomb unit in Oslo was summoned to  Mongstad in Nordhordland and military forces were mobilized as well.

The alarm at Mongstad wasn’t directed at Statoil’s large refinery there itself, but at the recycling company Norsk Gjenvinning, reported Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK). Police said a “suspicious item” was found at the firm just before noon on Tuesday, that the bomb squad from Oslo was to examine.

The military’s divers’ commando unit was also alerted and the area around the firm at Mongstad was evacuated until at least 3:30pm. “No one will be allowed into the area we’ve cordoned off and we won’t be doing any further examinations until the bomb group arrives,” Kjell Idar Vangberg of the Nordhordland police told NRK.

He wouldn’t say why police thought the “suspicious item” might be a bomb. Norsk Gjenvinning’s base in Nordhordland is located a few kilometers away from Statoil’s refinery and terminal complex. Around 30 employees were evacuated and were under protection.

Meanwhile, police were also responding to bomb threats at Bergen’s airport at Flesland and the University of Tromsø. The threats came in just a day after police in Oslo evactuated a government ministry and cordoned off several blocks around it after a suitcase found to be empty had been left on a bench just outside the ministry.

The threat at Flesland was called in to Norway’s airport authority Avinor in Bodø, but the airport wasn’t evacuated. “Nothing has been cordoned off and traffic is operating as usual,” Leif Johansen, operations chief at Bergen Lufthavn Flesland, told NRK.

The university in Tromsø wasn’t evacuated either. “We have investigated and haven’t found anything that would indicate a bomb,” Steinar Gudmundsen, operations leader of the police in Troms County, told NRK. “We’re talking about empty threats.”

Preparedness around Mongstad, however, was high. “As far as we can tell, the threat at Mongstad isn’t tied to those at the airport or elsewhere in the country,” said Inger Myrtvedt, operations leader of the Hordaland Police District.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund