Returning jihadists pose terror threat: minister

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Norway faces increased threat of terror attacks. Photo: Soldier with rifle: Shutterstock
11:08 CEST+02:00
Norway's justice minister Anders Anundsen has warned that Norway faces the threat of terrorist attack from fighters returning from conflicts abroad.

The justice minister, from the Progress Party, fears Norway could be hit by a new terror threat and wants to tighten legislation on people engaging in military activities abroad.

When questioned by Aftenposten about whether he is worried about a terror attack in Norway soon, the minister said: "Yes, I'm worried and this is in line with the evaluations of the police security service (PST) and the Norwegian intelligence service. Both evaluations conclude that foreign war fighters can pose a terror threat for Norway when they return."

"This doesn't mean that we should go around being afraid, but we shouldn't believe that it cannot affect us. And we shouldn't believe that we can prevent anything."

The justice department wants lawmakers to consider introducing prison sentences for anyone signing on with any organization or person participating in military activities abroad.

The goal is to give PST the opportunity to prevent such people from leaving Norway. According to current legislation, participating in war abroad is already prohibited, but Anundsen says the law covers recruitment for well-known terrorist organizations such as Isis, but not subgroups or defectors from terrorist organizations, private companies or mercenaries.

Anundsen added: "One of the weaknesses of the current legislation is that we have to wait until it is too late, and until after people have participated in extremely serious actions. I think it will be preventive to give PST greater possibilities to arrest Islamists before they go to Syria. I think it will lead to more people considering more carefully before they go."

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