Norwegian terrorist ready to strike: report

Intelligence services in Norway have said a Norwegian man reported to have trained as a terrorist with an Al-Qaeda affiliate in Yemen is still in the Middle Eastern country and cannot be extradited.

Domestic intelligence service PST has long known that a Norwegian citizen travelled to Yemen to train with Al-Qaeda, according to a report in newspaper VG. However, since Norwegian law does not make it illegal to participate in terrorist training camps, PST can do little more than monitor the situation, the paper said.

Justice Minister Grete Faremo earlier declined to say whether the country’s security services were keeping tabs on the suspected terrorist.  

“I can’t comment on individual cases but I can say that this is generally an area to which PST devotes a lot of attention,” the minister told TV 2.

On Monday, The Associated Press reported that a Norwegian convert to Islam was awaiting instructions to carry out a terrorist attack against a Western target.

Sources from three European intelligence agencies confirmed that the man, reported to be in his 30s and with no immigrant background, was “operational” and ready to strike.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.