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An official in the Norwegian intelligence service PST admitted that the agency has underestimated the number of people who have traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight for extremist groups since the autumn of 2012; the number is now said to be as many as 140. Authorities believe that at least 20 of those foreign fighters have returned to Norway and that 12 others have died. In a march led by Muslim and Christian leaders, about 5,000 people demonstrated in Oslo against the Islamic State's terrorism.




The state security service PST disclosed that two Norwegians thought to now be in Syria, Abdul Hakim Sanchez Hammer and Abu Aluevitsj Edelbijev, have been indicted for Islamic State-related terrorism. Another man in Syria, Norwegian-Chilean Islamist Bastian Alexis Vasquez, faces similar charges. Authorities say some 60 people have traveled to Syria from Norway to join extremist groups. PST warned that there is a 60 to 90 percent risk that Norway will be attacked by Islamist terrorists next year. Norwegian police have been directed to carry a weapon for the next four weeks.




Among the 83 terrorist groups listed by the United Arab Emirates is the Islamic Association of Norway (Det Islamske Forbundet i Norge). Officials with the state security service refused to comment on the possible existence of Islamic State sleeper cells in Norway.




Syrian 'hero boy' video faked by Norwegian director




After the PST warned of an increased likelihood of terrorist attacks on police and military forces as well as political figures in Norway, security was stepped up. The PST said the Islamic State's call for attacks on coalition countries must be viewed "in the context of changes to the modus operandi of extreme Islamist terror in Europe in recent years."
Hadia Tajik, head of the parliament's justice committee, said the new terror warning will not affect Norway's decision to send military trainers to help Iraqi forces prepare to confront the Islamic State; she also said more work needs to be done to prevent further radicalization.




Europe Tries to Stop Flow of Citizens Joining Jihad




US, France propose UN sanctions on 15 foreign Islamist fighters




Authorities said that five Norwegian military officers will be sent to the US to help with the US-led coalition against the Islamic State; the officers will be engaged in planning, most likely for the training of security forces. Noting that Norway has not yet decided the extent of its full contribution to the coalition, Defense Minister Soreide indicated that Norway will not help Syria fight against the IS. Norwegian intelligence said in August that up to 60 Norwegians have traveled to Syria and Iraq to join the IS, and that 10 were killed there and about 20 have returned home.




Who's who in coalition to defeat Islamic State




Kurds in Europe Take up Arms Against IS Group




Lawmaker Assails Foreign Donations to Think Tanks




The Islamic State's global reach




Authorities refused to comment on a Norwegian media report that the July 24 terror alert was triggered by warnings that four Islamic State operatives were on their way to Norway via Greece to commit a major attack. Authorities reportedly said that two Norwegians answer directly to IS leader Abu Bakr al Baghdadi; one is Bastian Vasquez, of Skien, and the other is of African origin and lived in Boerum. A Norwegian man confirmed that Greek authorities stopped a Syrian man with a Norwegian passport from flying to Oslo from Parga, Greece on Aug. 10 because he could not explain why he was flying to Norway from the resort town. Security officials said that as many as 300 Norwegian oil and energy companies were hacked, in the biggest such incident yet in Norway.




Some 5,000 people protested in Oslo against the Islamic State, in a demonstration organized by Norwegian Muslim groups. A government minister said Norway is considering legislation that will revoke the citizenship of Norwegians who seriously damage vital government interests or volunteer to serve in foreign military services.




The head of the PST announced that the terror alert has been lowered, as an attack by Islamist militants from Syria is no longer thought to be imminent. Norwegian counterterrorism experts indicated there was more to the warning than mentioned in the press. Police arrested a second suspect in the attempted murder of an Oslo imam who had spoken out against religious extremists; another suspect, a Norwegian man of Pakistani origin, was arrested on June 30.




Norwegian officials said the recent threat of an imminent terrorist attack has been somewhat reduced, backing off from an earlier warning that terrorists from Syria were already on their way to Norway. A former Danish security official criticized Norway's security agency for being so outspoken about the threat. An ISIS suicide bomber from Norway was identified as Jamel, a Tunisian who immigrated to Norway in 2006 but allegedly returned to Tunisia before dying in a suicide attack in Iraq in June.




Norwegian officials warned that terrorists intent on attacking Norway, possibly on July 28, have already left Syria. Authorities are increasing security around Norway's nuclear facilities, the Jewish Museum in Oslo, and other sites. The Islamic State tweeted about a Norwegian suicide bomber who detonated at an Iraqi military checkpoint in Baghdad on June 2.




The security police warned of a "credible" threat of a terrorist attack within the next few days against targets in Norway by people connected with Islamic extremists in Syria. The attack was reportedly planned in Europe. Security measures have been stepped up, and both the City Hall and the Royal Palace in Oslo were closed to tourists as a precaution. About 50 Norwegians are thought to have traveled to Syria to fight, as have about 40 Finns, and some 80 Swedes are said to have joined jihadist groups in Syria.




US adds Norwegian AQAP bomb maker to list of terrorists

Anders Cameroon Ostensvig Dale, a Norwegian who joined al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in 2008, is thought to have been trained under AQAP bomb maker Ibrahim al Asiri or one of his lieutenants.


Holder Urges Europeans to Step Up Antiterrorism Tactics


 
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