Norway expects ISIS-inspired attack within coming year

Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg (third right) stands next to Norwegian Muslims during a demonstration against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists in front of the Norwegian Parliament building in Oslo on Aug 25, 2014. Norway's
Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg (third right) stands next to Norwegian Muslims during a demonstration against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) extremists in front of the Norwegian Parliament building in Oslo on Aug 25, 2014. Norway's intelligence service said Wednesday it expects an attack on the country within a year due to the growing threat posed by ISIS. -- PHOTO: AFP

OSLO (AFP) - Norway's intelligence service said Wednesday it expects an attack on the country within a year due to the growing threat posed by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group.

"Within the coming 12 months, it is likely that Norway will be threatened by terrorist attacks or exposed to attempted strikes," the police intelligence service, known as PST, said in an updated threat assessment.

PST director Benedicte Bjoernland told broadcaster TV2 her service had "no information on any specific plan to attack a target in Norway today." "But we have detected an unfortunate trend," she said, referring to recent attacks perpetrated or thwarted in Canada, Britain and Australia.

In September, ISIS called on its supporters to target all countries that had joined the United States in fighting the group in Iraq and Syria.

Norway is not directly involved in this campaign, but it announced last week that it had decided to send 120 troops to Iraq to help train Iraqi troops battling the ISIS.

"Extremist Islamist terrorism in Europe has been characterised in recent years by low-complexity attacks, carried out with tools that are easy to obtain and use," the PST said.

"More and more targets are easy to access and have great symbolic value. Such attacks can be difficult to anticipate," it added, noting that military personnel, police and politicians could be "particularly exposed".

According to the PST, 60 individuals with ties to Norway have travelled to Syria to participate in the ongoing civil war.

This summer, the Scandinavian country was on alert for a week due to what it characterised as the risk of imminent attack that ultimately did not materialise.