Norway warns of right-wing terror attack in coming year

Philip Manshaus attends a court hearing in Oslo last month. He is accused of an attempted terrorist attack. (AFP)
Updated 06 September 2019

Norway warns of right-wing terror attack in coming year

  • Several Norwegian right-wing extremists have recently expressed support for perpetrators behind attacks in New Zealand, the US and the failed attack in an Oslo mosque last month
  • Several shots were fired and one person was slightly injured, but the suspect, Philip Manshaus, was held down by others in the mosque

COPENHAGEN: Norway’s domestic security agency warned Friday about the possibility of a terror attack from right-wing extremists “in the coming year.”
In a statement, the PST agency said it “now considers it possible that Norwegian right-wing extremists will try to carry out terrorist acts in the coming year.”
The agency said its heightened assessment stemmed from the fact that several Norwegian right-wing extremists have recently expressed support for perpetrators behind attacks in New Zealand, the United States and the failed attack in the Norwegian capital Oslo last month.
On Aug. 10, Philip Manshaus stormed an Oslo mosque with guns before being overpowered. Several shots were fired and one person was slightly injured, but the suspect was held down by others in the mosque. The suspect has also been tied to the slaying of his stepsister.
Manshaus is believed to have been inspired by attacks this year in New Zealand and the US — a mass shooter killed 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch on March 15 while a gunman left at least 22 dead in El Paso, Texas, on Aug. 3.
The agency said “meeting places for Muslims and non-Western immigrants,” political parties or persons, Jews and LGBT communities are “symbolic targets.”
The service updated its assessment hours after it said a Norwegian citizen in his 20s had been arrested for “terrorist association” Thursday afternoon. It was not known whether that case was linked to the heightened assessment.
After last month’s failed attack, PST said it had received a “vague” tip a year ago about Manshaus but it wasn’t able to act because there was nothing concrete revealed. Its boss Hans Sverre Sjoevold then said there was no reason to change the overall threat assessment for Norway.


India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killed

Updated 59 min 2 sec ago

India blocks SMS services in Kashmir after trucker killed

  • Security sources said the decision to cut text messaging services was taken to reduce the ability of militants to communicate
  • Indian authorities had only restored call and text services for mobile phones

SRINAGAR: Text messaging services were blocked in Indian Kashmir just hours after being restored when a truck driver was killed by suspected militants and his vehicle set ablaze, authorities said Tuesday.
Separately Indian officials said that a 24-year-old woman died in the latest exchange of artillery fire with Pakistan over their de-facto border dividing the blood-soaked Himalayan region.
Security sources said the decision to cut text messaging services was taken to reduce the ability of militants to communicate.
Indian authorities had only restored call and text services for mobile phones on Monday, following a 72-day blackout in the restive northern territory imposed after New Delhi scrapped the region's semi-autonomous status.
The seven million-plus people of the Kashmir Valley — the main hotbed of resistance to Indian rule — are still cut off from the Internet, however.
Authorities said SMS services were cut again on Monday night following the attack on the driver of a truck carrying apples in Shopian.
Residents said two masked gunmen told the driver to use his truck to block the road, but it skidded and got stuck.
“The gunmen then fired at the truck and set it on fire,” a witness told AFP.
Apples are a sensitive issue in Kashmir, which exports vast quantities of the fruit to markets across India.
Many orchard owners say they are refusing to harvest this year to protest against the government’s move to scrap Kashmir’s autonomy.
Indian authorities say that militants — backed by arch-rival Pakistan — have been intimidating farmers and businessmen.
The latest death from Pakistani artillery fire over the Line of Control (LoC) dividing Kashmir brings the number of fatalities on the Indian side to three in the past four days, the Press Trust of India reported.
Two Indian soldiers were killed in two separate incidents on Friday and Sunday, PTI said. It was unclear if there were any fatalities from Indian fire on the Pakistani side.
Also on Tuesday, police arrested 13 women activists in Srinagar after they staged a protest calling for civil liberties and the release of detainees.
The women, wearing black armbands, were arrested for “breaching the peace” and for a contravening a ban in place since early August on public gatherings of more than four people, police said.
They included the sister and daughter of former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, one of several hundred local politicians, lawyers and others in custody since early August, mostly without charge.
Abdullah, 81, was formally arrested in mid-September under the highly contentious Public Safety Act (PSA) that allows someone to be held for up to two years without charge, and which has been used widely in Kashmir in recent years.
Rebels have been fighting for three decades some 500,000 Indian soldiers deployed in the territory, demanding independence or to join Pakistan which also controls part of the region and, like India, claims it in full.