Norway

Overview:  Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) raised the annual threat assessment to High (Level 4 of its five-tier threat scale), following a June 25 attack during Oslo Pride festivities, then lowered it to Moderate (Level 3) in September.  The University of Oslo’s Center for Research on Extremism (or C-REX) reported greater organization among jihadi groups representing an increased threat of attacks.  Lone-actor attacks continued to be the greatest threat driven by online recruitment and radicalization to violence.  Norway’s law enforcement capacity for proactively detecting, deterring, and preventing acts of terrorism in its territory remained strong, despite underfunding in some areas.  Norway is postured to prevent acts of terrorism, and bilateral counterterrorism cooperation with the United States is strong.  Operational cooperation is high.

2022 Terrorist Incidents:  There were no terrorist charges raised in connection with incidents in Norway.

PST is investigating a potential terror link in connection with the June 25 mass shooting attack in Oslo.  Police arrested, in addition to the perpetrator, members of the group Profetens Ummah (Prophet’s Community) and issued an arrest warrant for “known Islamist” Arfan Bhatti, but to date no terrorism charges have been filed.

Legislation Law Enforcement and Border Security:  There were no significant updates to the legal system as it pertains to counterterrorism in 2022.

Norway issued new passports with enhanced security features in 2020.  Norwegian passports are immediately canceled when they are reported lost or stolen, to prevent misuse.  The adjudication process for new passports includes automatic biometric comparisons and more training for adjudicators at 79 passport and ID offices around the country, including at Oslo Gardermoen Airport.  Biometric emergency passports issued at Gardermoen are valid for one exit and one entry to Norway and must be surrendered upon the traveler’s return.

Legislation to establish a national system for the collection and use of passenger name records for the prevention, detection, investigation, and prosecution of terrorist offenses and serious crime came into effect on May 1.  Parliament passed legislation that was required to implement the European Travel Information and Authorization System and Entry/Exit System Schengen border control systems.

Oslo Police opened an investigation into the June 25 mass shooting attack as a suspected terrorist attack.  A 16-year-old Syrian boy was found guilty of planning an act of terrorism in June 2021 and was sentenced to five years in prison, three years of which were suspended.  The Supreme Court reviewed the three-year, May 2021, prison sentence of a Norwegian-Pakistani woman who traveled to Syria to be with her husband, a member of the al-Nusra Front and ISIL, and reduced her sentence to 1 year and 4 months.

Authorities arrested 35 members of the Nordic Resistance Movement at an October 29 neo-Nazi rally in Oslo for not complying with police orders, following physical confrontations with counter-demonstrators.  Only four of those arrested were Norwegian citizens; the remaining were foreign citizens, primarily from Sweden and Denmark, who traveled to Oslo for the rally.

Countering the Financing of Terrorism:  Norway is a member of FATF, and its FIU, Financial Intelligence Unit Norway, is a member of the Egmont Group.  In November the government updated the National Risk Assessment on money laundering and terrorist financing.

Countering Violent Extremism:  The government launched an update of the national CT strategy in November, with a keener focus on the potential of violence from seriously mentally ill individuals.  The strategy also sought to address counterterrorism challenges through enhanced regulatory and technology development, threat communication, knowledge and expertise development, and cooperation.  Norway continues to implement its Action Plan Against Radicalization and Violent Extremism. The government established an Extremism Commission in June, charged with evaluating the sharing of information among the health sector, security services, and the police.  The commission also evaluates the drivers of violent extremism and how to follow up with persons at risk of radicalization to violence.  The commission will present recommendations at the end of 2023.

Four Norwegian women known to have traveled from Norway to Syria to join ISIS remained in displaced persons camps in Syria, along with their four children.  PST charged the women with participating in a terrorist organization in absentia.  No Norwegian nationals were repatriated from displaced persons camps in Syria in 2022.  PST estimated that 20 out of at least 140 Norwegian nationals who traveled to Syria and Iraq to fight on behalf of ISIS remain in those countries.

International and Regional Cooperation:  Norway’s 2022 global security funding, which covers counterterror collaboration, dropped by $2.9 million (29 million Norwegian kroner) down to $7.5 million (75.1 million Norwegian kroner) in a revised state budget for 2022 because of across-the-board cuts made necessary by redirected funds for relief and assistance efforts related to Russia’s war against Ukraine.  Norway subsequently dropped several planned initiatives, including contributions to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime and counterthreat measures under the revised budget.

Norway continued to support multilateral organizations, such as the Global Community Engagement and Resilience Fund, to ensure they play a continued role in global CT prevention efforts.  Norway supported the UN Secretary-General’s Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism and has contributed $3.75 million to the UN Trust Fund for Counterterrorism since its inception in 2009.  Kristiansand and Oslo are members of the Strong Cities Network.  Ten Norwegian cities are part of the Nordic Safe Cities Network.

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