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Why Was Norway Attacked and Who's Responsible?

"It is a classic terrorist effort."

Officials have not yet named those believed to be responsible for today's bomb attack and youth camp shooting in Norway. Seven have been confirmed killed in the Oslo blast, and unconfirmed reports say several were killed in the shooting 50 miles away.

However, according to reports, there has been celebration on pro-Jihadist online forums in the wake of the attacks.

Reuters:

In a message posted on the password-protected Shumukh al-Islam forum, the militant, who writes under the name of Abu Suleiman al-Nasser, said that the Oslo bombings are "another message arriving in the countries of Europe from the mujahideen (holy warriors)."

Al-Nasser has made several threats to European countries participating in the war in Afghanistan, SITE said.

Another posting by a participant called Emir Grozny said: "Threat against the Prime Minister of Norway. You have only moments to withdraw your soldiers from the grave of Khurasan and if not... you will see blood running in the streets."

According to the New York Times, a group calling itself Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or Helpers of the Global Jihad, issued a statement claiming responsibility:

A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at C.N.A., a research institute that studies terrorism. The message said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad. “We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,” the group said, according to Mr. McCants’ translation, apparently referring to a bombing in Sweden in December 2010. “What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.” The claim could not be confirmed.

What is Norway's history with terror that could make it a possible target?

  • New Al Qaeda chief Ayman al Zawahri first singled out Norway in 2003, warning that its participation with U.S. efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan made it a target for attacks.
  • Norway is also a partner in the NATO's Libya operation, although it has said it will reduce its troops in August.
  • Last July, three immigrants with alleged ties to Al Qaeda were arrested and indicted for planning an attack on targets in Oslo. The planned attacks were believed to be connected with an Al Qaeda plot to blow up New York City subways.
  • Last week, Iraqi-born cleric Mullah Krekar was indicted for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported. Krekar was connected to terror groups in Iraq before claiming status as a refugee in Norway in 1991. Krekar has praised Bin Laden and called for attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.
  • In 2006, Norwegian newspapers reprinted the controversial Danish cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad, for which the Norwegian embassy in Syria was attacked. Al Qaeda leaders pledged retaliation. In 2010, a Norwegian paper reproduced the cartoons again, after the home of the cartoonist who drew them was broken into.

Former U.S. ambassador U.N. John Bolton, speaking on Fox News said there seems to be "little doubt" that the attacks are politically motivated.

"It is a classic terrorist effort," Bolton said. "Without anyone taking responsibility for it or any definitive evidence we can't say for sure but it sure looks like Islamic terrorism."

One last thing…
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