Norwegian minister: Returning jihadists pose security risk


Norwegian justice minister Anders Anundsen has said that jihadists returning from fighting abroad could carry out terrorist attacks in the Scandinavian country.

The Progress Party minister claims Norway is faced with an increased terror threat and said that legislation on those engaged in warfare overseas should be tightened. He said he was worried about the threat as the Norwegian intelligence service and the police security service (PST) have both carried out evaluations and concluded that fighters can pose an increased security risk upon returning.

Anundsed said that people shouldn’t walk around feeling afraid, but they shouldn’t have the mindset that terrorism can’t affect them. The justice department is hoping that lawmakers will introduce jail terms for anyone found to have joined organisations engaging in military activities in other countries, with the aim of giving the PST the chance to arrest people before they leave Norway.

The current legislation states that participating in war abroad is illegal, but Anundsen noted that covers recruitment for renowned terrorist organisations like Isis, but not defectors or subgroups from terrorist groups, mercenaries or private companies. He said a weakness of the current system is that it cannot prevent these people from leaving the country, and by the time they have returned they have already participated in serious warfare.

He insisted that if the PST has greater opportunities to arrest Islamists before they travel to Syria, more people would reconsider going in the first place.