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'Still a specific attack threat': terror expert

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'Still a specific attack threat': terror expert
Kjetil Stormark, journalist and terrorism expert. Photo: Erlend Aas / NTB scanpix
16:12 CEST+02:00
Norwegian police were right to call a national alert after they learnt a terror group from Syria had fake ID documents and were set to enter Norway, claims a terrorism expert on Wednesday.

Journalist and terror expert Kjetil Stormark said that PST received information that the assumed terror group from Syria supposedly had false Norwegian ID documents and were travelling to Europe.

Stormark published details on the background for the threat evaluation from PST in a blog on “Nettavisen”. Stormark said he has “several independent sources” confirming the information on the blog post.
 
Stormark said to NTB: “One of the statements that PST received was that the group had fake Norwegian ID documents. Whether there are other connections to Norway, or if this is the only one, I do not know.”
 
According to Stormark, the Norwegian authorities know the identity of one person in the assumed terror group, who supposedly travelled from Syria to Europe.
 
Stormark says: “I don't know for sure whether this is a cell leader or a person with a subordinate role, but it's thought to be a member of the group.”
 
Since then PST has worked intensely scrutinizing intelligence information. On Sunday the evaluation of the threat resulted in the threat being “somewhat reduced”. The cause for this, according to Stormark, is that one or several individual pieces of information in the original notes showed not to be correct.
 
Stormark explains: “There is still a specific threat of a specific attack. PST and the intelligence service still work on analysing the the information. They can for example check whether details connected to a possible travel itinerary are possible to carry out.”
 
He says: “It is fact examinations like these that make us see the intelligence notifications as less plausible, and experience the threat as less serious.”
 
Stormark added that PST did not make contact with the primary source behind the information that released the terror warning.
 
Stormark says: “In situations like these, it's important to get in touch with the primary source in order to ask control questions to try to confirm or reject the information. The challenge for PST is that they didn't get in touch with the one or those who are the sources. It is then difficult to clear up on the situation.”
 
PST has given very few details on what lies behind the threat evaluation of a possible attack against Norway. They also don't want to confirm or reject the information from Stormark, or whether they have been in touch with the primary source.
 
Senior advisor in PST, Martin Bernsen, said to NTB : “It is completely impossible to comment on this. There is still uncertain information that we try to clear up on, but I cannot say anything more on what kind of information this links to.”
 
Another terror expert, Magnus Ranstorp, believes PST has more information pointing at Norway as a target for terror attack, other than an assumed terror group from Syria having Norwegian ID documents.
 
A week after PST announced publicly the terror threats against Norway, the intelligence service still keeps their cards very close to their chest about what lies behind the information.
 
Ranstorp said to NTB: “It’s strange if there isn't more information pointing towards Norway. There is no direct connection between having Norwegian ID documents and planning a trip to Norway. It could in itself just have been a way to be able to enter the EU.”
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