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.


French PM pays homage to aid workers killed in Niger

Updated 3 min 4 sec ago

French PM pays homage to aid workers killed in Niger

  • PM Jean Castex sought to assure the parents of the four women and two men that all of France mourned their passing
  • The six, their Nigierien guide and driver, were killed on Sunday in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast of Niamey

PARIS: France’s prime minister led a memorial service Friday for six aid workers killed in Niger in what investigators said had likely been a premeditated attack targeting Westerners.
As the six caskets lay side by side in the VIP section of Orly Airport south of Paris, where the bodies arrived Friday from Niamey, Jean Castex sought to assure the parents of the four women and two men that all of France mourned their passing.
“In front of these six coffins... I want first of all to express the pain, the incomprehension, the anger of all French people,” said the premier as he saluted the youngsters’ generosity and altruism.
“The victims of this attack came to Niger to do good. They met with evil.”
The six, their Nigierien guide and driver, were killed on Sunday in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast of Niamey.
The area is a popular a destination for weekend leisure trips by Niamey residents, including foreigners.
They worked for French NGO Acted and were aged between 25 and 30.
“This incarnation of evil, France unfortunately knows it only too well... it is very likely the same hatred, the same cowardice, the same inhumanity at work in Niger and Bataclan,” the Parisian concert venue targeted by extremists in 2015, said Castex.
And he stressed there was “no question of giving an inch of ground to criminal fanaticism or to enemies of the freedom to act, think and engage.”
Earlier, a source close to an ongoing investigation by French anti-terror prosecutors told AFP the attack “appears to have been premeditated to target a priori mainly Westerners.”
France’s anti-terror prosecutor’s office said Monday it would probe charges of murder “with links to a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association” in relation to the killings.
A team of 11 specialized investigators departed France for Niger the following day.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack carried out by gunmen on motorcycles.
But “given the modus operandi, the terrorist hypothesis is being favored,” the source told AFP.
Suspicion has fallen on Daesh in the Great Sahara, active in the shared border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, where it is being pursued by France’s Barkhane force fighting extremists in the Sahel.
The French investigation will seek to determine whether the assailants had been tipped off about the humanitarians’ visit to the national park.
French President Emmanuel Macron has described it as “manifestly a terrorist attack” and said there would be repercussions.
“We’re pursuing action to eradicate the terrorist groups, with the strengthened support of our partners,” Macron said.