Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) was reporting on Thursday that the terror threat against Norway last summer involved scenarios in which extremists would break into random Norwegian homes and execute the families living in them. The executions would be filmed and then published on the Internet.
NRK reported that the goal, according to its sources, was to spread as much fear as possible within the Norwegian population. Newspaper VG has reported that the terrorists would go amok with knives within a crowd of people, rather like what happened in a recent terrorist attack in China. A similar attack reportedly was fended off in Australia this week.
NRK reports that Norwegian authorities were faced with several scenarios, including the home break-ins or cases where the terrorists would simply ring the doorbell of a Norwegian home and then attack its occupants.
Neither the justice ministry, the police intelligence unit PST nor the defense ministry would comment on NRK’s report. They were also reluctant to reveal details of the nature of the threatened terrorist attack last summer, possibly because they didn’t want to carry out the terrorists’ goal of spreading fear.
Norwegians reacted stoically to the terror threat in late July, which resulted in heavily armed police on city streets, in train stations, at airports and other locations where there are lots of people. At that time, Norway was set to host some major summer events including the Norway Cup football tournament and the Tall Ships Races calling at Fredrikstad and Bergen. All events proceeded as planned, but with machine-gun-toting officers on patrol in a country where police normally are unarmed.
Experts say the new threats reflect a new form of terrorism. Instead of carrying out major attacks like those involving hijacked jets or powerful car bombs, Islamic extremists are opting for random attacks against individuals or in crowds, like the street stabbing of a British soldier or the attack on a shopping center in Nairobi, which involved a terrorist with Norwegian citizenship. Such attacks are difficult to fend off.
“This is the next generation of methods we’re seeing in the terrorists’ world,” author and journalist Kjetil Stormark told NRK. “They’re looking for new methods that can create maximum fear and that give them the opportunity of getting away. Attacks on private homes are specially designed to have the highest possible effect at the lowest cost.”