Norwegians defy terrorism fears

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A new survey conducted after two Islamic extremists attacked the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris shows that fears of terrorism in Norway have not risen. Many Norwegians also stood in line for hours to buy the latest edition of the magazine when it went on sale just before the weekend.

Customers crammed into a Narvesen news vendor in downtown Oslo on Friday to buy the latest edition of the French satire magazine Charlie Hebdo, whose editorial staff was attacked by terrorists earlier this month. The magazine sold out in just 45 minutes. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

Customers crammed into a Narvesen news vendor in downtown Oslo on Friday to buy the latest edition of the French satire magazine “Charlie Hebdo,” whose editorial staff was attacked by terrorists earlier this month. The magazine sold out in just 45 minutes. PHOTO: newsinenglish.no

The survey, conducted by research firm Response Analyse for newspapers Bergens Tidende, Aftenposten and Stavanger Aftenblad, indicated that only 4 percent of Norwegians questioned fear a terrorist attack “to a large degree.” Another 21 percent feared an attack to a “quite large degree.”

By contrast, 72 percent said they did not fear an attack, 17 percent of them “to an extremely small degree.” Less than 4 percent were uncertain.

“This is completely in line with our findings,” Katharina Wolff, a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Bergen, told Bergens Tidende. “We see that the risk evaluations for terror rose just after the attack (on Charlie Hebdo’s editorial staff), but that people quickly dismiss any worries about attacks themselves.”

Police nonetheless were on patrol outside the Narvesen Continental news vendor outlet in downtown Oslo when the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo went on sale Friday afternoon. Narvesen had received just 170 copies of the special edition that was printed in the millions because of international demand, and one woman told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that she’d been standing in line for several hours to be sure she got one of them.

“I’m full of admiration for the staff in Paris who managed to get the magazine out just a few days after the attack,” another man standing in line, Simen Johannessen, told Aftenposten. “The least we can do (to show support) is to buy it. This is an historic edition, almost like getting a piece of the Berlin Wall.”

Latest threat remains unclear
Police intelligence unit PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjeneste) still hasn’t clarified, meanwhile, whether a new terror threat lodged against both Norway and Denmark is genuine. The threat was made on a website in France, while another later appeared on a site tied to the terrorist group IS, shortly after the attack in Paris on the magazine and attacks on a French police officer and a kosher grocery store.

“We are in contact with various cooperating partners both in Norway and abroad about this,” Siv Alsén of PST told Aftenposten. “All threats are taken seriously and we work continually to check whether they’re real or not.”

PST raised the overall threat of a terrorist attack in Norway last summer, based on a concrete threat, and police were later allowed to carry arms after a threat last fall was made against police and military personnel in uniform. PST officials have since said the threat level has not been raised further, nor after the new threats following the Paris attacks.

newsinenglish.no/Nina Berglund