Norway’s domestic police intelligence unit PST issued a new terror warning on Thursday that raises the threat of attacks carried out by right-wing extremists. The threat level in Norway, PST believes, is now “clearly worrisome.”
Norway already has been the site of one of the worst right-wing extremist attacks in the world, when a young white Norwegian man bombed government headquarters in Oslo and then gunned down scores of Labour Party youth at their summer camp on July 22, 2011. Neo-Nazis have recently marched through the center of some Norwegian towns, while another young Norwegian man murdered his adopted Chinese-born sister and then attacked a mosque in suburban Bærum in August.
PST (Politiets sikkerhetstjenesten) stated that “a rising degree of Norwegians” now sympathize with and support right-wing terrorism. In its latest threat evaluation for Norway, PST reports that the “negative development of threats from Norwegian right-wing extremists” has continued.
PST also raised the threat level for right-wing extremism earlier this year, only to boost it again now. Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported that the security agency now thinks a new right-wing terrorist attack is “possible,” the same degree of likelihood as that attached to the threat of attack by Islamic extremists. It’s the first time PST has ranked the terror threat level from the two groups as the same.
Muslim and non-western targets
The agency thinks targets for a right-wing attack are most likely to be gathering places for Muslims and non-western immigrants, and that an attack is likely to involve guns, improvised explosives or vehicles. PST stated that Norwegian police will be working with vulnerable groups in an effort to protect them from any attacks, and try to prevent them.
Right-wing extremists have carried out 16 terrorist attacks so far this year, according to PST, compared to seven last year. That’s more than the number of attacks carried out by Islamic extremists in 2019. The attacks have been directed at Muslims, non-western immigrants, politicians and Jews.
“We’re seeing more attacks, an increasing degree of radicalization among right-wing extremists and we see a higher degree of Norwegians sympathizing with and supporting such attacks,” Arne Christian Haugstøyl, a divisional leader at PST, told NRK.
“This is clearly worrisome, and we therefore wanted to share this information,” Haugstøyl said. He wouldn’t go into detail on how many people may be involved in any attacks, but said the number was “considerable.”