Krekar aimed to build new terror network say German police

Norway-based extremist Mullah Krekar has been trying to build up a new terror network which would be a successor to Ansar al-Islam, the group he founded in 2001, German police believe.

Krekar aimed to build new terror network say German police
Mullah Krekar - Anette Karlsen Scanpix
According to Swedish court documents seen by Aftonbladet, German police suspect at least ten people, residing in Norway, Germany, UK, Switzerland and Iraq, of involvement in the network, known as 'Rawt' or 'the movement'. 
The German investigation believes that Krekar, whose real name is Najmuddin Faraj Ahmad, has since 2008 been seeking to build a network of up to 100 European activists, with the goal of fighting to establish an Islamic caliphate in Kurdistan. 
"Eligible targets for terrorist acts in Iraq could include coalition troops, political parties, and American and Norwegian civilians," the German police wrote in a request to a Swedish court. "Even suicide bombings, assassinations, snipers and chemical weapons would be allowed." 
They believe a 34-year-old Iraqi living in Switzerland, and a 31-year-old Iraqi living in the UK both played a leading role. 
The new investigation came to light when German police asked the court to interrogate a 28-year-old Iranian expelled from Norway in 2011, who now lives in Västerås. 
The 28-year-old this week told Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that the interview could put his life at risk.
"I could be executed," he told the paper. "This is incredibly important for my private life. This may have consequences for me in Iran. I could be executed if something leaks out." 
According to Norway's VG, Rawt also planned to give financial support to al-Qaeda in the Kurdish republic.
The Germans do not suspect the 28-year-old of any crime, but believe he was involved in chatting to the network in December 2010 and had direct contact with Krekar at least twice over the internet. 

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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.