Oslo: Norwegian intelligence did not
consider the far-right as a serious threat to society and
instead primarily feared an attack by Islamist extremists,
according to an official report published this year.
With its forces involved in the NATO campaigns in both
Afghanistan and Libya, yesterday`s tragic twin attacks
prompted speculation that the country could have been paying a
price for its participation in the Western alliance.
But after the arrest of a 32-year-old ethnic
Norwegian, whom police have described as a "fundamentalist
Christian" with political opinions that leaned "to the right",
there has been a fundamental shift in focus.
In its annual threat assessment report released
earlier this year, the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST)
had detected a rise in far-right activity but said "the lack
of strong leaders limits the growth of these groups."
"There was an increase in the activity of far-right
extremist groups in 2010, and this activity is expected to
continue in 2011," the PST said.
However "as in previous years, the far-right and
far-left extremist communities will not represent a serious
threat to Norwegian society in 2011," the report added.
The same report said there were indications of
contacts between Norwegian far-right extremists and criminal
groups, which could give far-right activists easier access to
weapons and "thereby increase the potential for violence."
According to the TV2 channel, the arrested suspect
possessed two weapons registered in his name. Other Norwegian
media reported that the suspect, widely named as Anders
Behring Breivik, was interested in hunting and computer games
like World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2.
Norway`s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg has refused
to comment directly on the motives of the gunman who shot dead
84 people at a summer youth camp after seven other people were
killed in a bomb attack in Oslo.
But in a press conference today, the Prime Minister
denied that right-wing extremism was a particular problem for
"Compared to other countries I would not say we have a
big problem with right-wing extremists in Norway," he said.