Skip to main content

Norway expects Islamist terrorism attempt within 'a few days'

By Josh Levs, CNN
July 24, 2014 -- Updated 1709 GMT (0109 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Norwegian police say terrorists could strike "in a few days"
  • The information is credible, police say
  • Authorities don't know who is involved or what the plot is
  • Norway has long been threatened by Islamist extremists

(CNN) -- Norwegian officials say they think Islamist terrorists could strike the country within a few days, but they do not know what the plot is.

The Police Security Service "recently received information that individuals affiliated with an extreme Islamist group in Syria may have the intention of carrying out a terrorist action in Norway," the service said in a statement Thursday.

A preliminary investigation strengthened the credibility of the information, the statement said. "We also have information indicating that a terrorist action against Norway is planned to be carried out shortly -- probably in a few days.

"We have no information about who is behind such an attack, how it will be carried out, the target or in what way such an attack will be carried out. ... As the information is not specific and not very concrete but at the same time credible, it is difficult to give advice to the citizens of this country on how to act in this situation."

Security has been increased at airports, train stations, ports and major intersections, according to The Nordic Page, a Norwegian English-language news site.

Norway has long been threatened by Muslim extremists. Al Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri mentioned Norway in a recording released back in 2003 -- when he was Osama bin Laden's top deputy, -- that urged Muslims to take a lesson from the 9/11 hijackers and "light a fire under the feet" of the United States, Britain, Australia and Norway by attacking embassies and corporations.

At the time, Norwegian media speculated that al-Zawahiri may have confused Norway with neighboring Denmark. But while Norway did not support the war in Iraq, it did send special forces and fighter planes to Afghanistan as part of the U.S.-led war.

In 2004, Norwegian officials arrested the former leader of an Iraqi Islamic militant group.

In 2006, Norwegian embassies were among the targets of violent protests after newspapers in several countries including Norway published depictions of Islam's Prophet Mohammed.

In 2011, Norway suffered a terrorist attack carried out by Anders Behring Breivik, a right-wing extremist with a hatred of Muslims. Eight people died in a bombing in Oslo, and 69 young people on nearby Utoya island were gunned down.

The following year, the Muslim extremist group Ansar al-Sunna threatened Norway with a 9/11-style attack unless part of the capital, Oslo, was turned into a Muslim nation, the International Business Times reported. "We do not wish to live together with dirty beasts like you," the group wrote in a letter to Norwegian lawmakers and newspaper editors, according to the report.

In its statement Thursday, Norway's Police Security Service said "Extreme Islamism is still the most serious terror threat against Norway. Also, we state that it has for a long time been a strategy to recruit extreme Islamists in war and conflict zones to carry out terrorist actions in Europe, and that Syria at the time being is considered to be the one of the leading arenas for this recruitment."

The threat from Islamist extremists is increasing, police said.

While "a great amount of threats" come in each year, most are not commented on openly, the statement said. But "in the current situation," police said, informing the public "is the right thing to do."

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2245 GMT (0645 HKT)
Pakistan Taliban say the school attack was revenge for the killing of children in a military offensive -- but they are being pressed by defections to ISIS.
A group that claims it hacked Sony Pictures has posted a public threat against moviegoers who see Sony's "The Interview."
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0243 GMT (1043 HKT)
The gunman behind the deadly siege in Sydney this week was not on a security watch list, and Australia's Prime Minister wants to know why.
December 18, 2014 -- Updated 0948 GMT (1748 HKT)
Bestselling author Marjorie Liu had set her sights on being a lawyer, but realized it wasn't what she wanted to do for the rest of her life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2027 GMT (0427 HKT)
CNN's Matthew Chance looks into an HRW report saying Russia has "legalized discrimination against LGBT people."
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0212 GMT (1012 HKT)
The Sydney siege has brought home some troubling truths to Australians. They are not immune to what are often called "lone-wolf" terror attacks.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 0012 GMT (0812 HKT)
A social media campaign condemning Islamophobia under the hashtag #illridewithyou has taken off after Sydney hostage siege.
Bill Cosby has kept quiet as sexual assault allegations mounted against him, but his wife, Camille, finally spoke out in defense of her husband.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1144 GMT (1944 HKT)
China-bound AirAsia flight turns back to Bangkok after passenger throws water over crew member.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1026 GMT (1826 HKT)
It takes Nepalese eye doctor, Sanduk Ruit about five minutes to change someone's life.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1054 GMT (1854 HKT)
This epic journey crosses 13,000 kilometers, eight countries over 21 days. Find out where.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT