The head of Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste) announced Wednesday that the likelihood of a terrorist attack against Norway over the next year has risen once again. “It’s probable that something can happen, and we are obliged to take it seriously,” PST boss Benedicte Bjørnland told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
It was just three months ago that Norway went on high alert over what Bjørnland and other state authorities claimed was a credible threat of an attack on Norway. Now they’re sounding the alarm again, after a new evaluation of the threat scenario.
Developments have been negative, both for Norway and many other countries as well, with much of it tied to the brutality of the so-called ISIL Islamic extremist movement in Iraq and Syria and the reaction to it. Norway has sent aid to refugees in Northern Iraq and announced last week that it also will send 120 special forces to the area to help train local forces in the fight against ISIL.
“We have chosen to be concrete in regards to various possible targets,” Bjørnland said. “There are various reasons for that. One is that ISIL in September published a speech in which it encouraged sympathizers in the west to attack on the homefront, with especially military personnel, police and central decisionmakers as the targets.” Earlier this autumn, it was reported that last summer’s terrorist threat was against ordinary Norwegian families.
Bjørnland wouldn’t detail what preventive measures are being taken but said the risk of a terrorist attack can be lowered “if we react.”
PST officials wrote on the intelligence agency’s website Wednesday morning that the situation had sharpened in recent months. They fear that terrorists can attack Norway during the next year, especially Islamic terrorists tied to the wars in Iraq and Syria.
“Within the next 12 months, it’s probable that we can be threatened with a terrorist attack, or attempted attack, in Norway,” PST wrote.
Bjørnland stressed that neither she nor her colleagues had any knowledge of concrete plans for an attack.