Norway raises terrorist threat level to ‘extraordinary’
Norway is facing an “unresolved terrorist situation,” national police chief Roger Berg told journalists on Saturday, adding that the nationwide terrorist threat level has been raised from “moderate” to "extraordinary." The decision has been taken following a mass shooting at an Oslo nightclub on Saturday night.
The police have said they consider the attack on the club to be “an extremist Islamist terrorist act.” Investigators are now seeking to assess the level of the suspect’s “ideological motivation” and his potential connections to “other extremists or associated networks,” Berg explained. He has also asked people to contact the police if they see something even slightly suspicious.
Terrorist acts similar to the one carried out in downtown Oslo have "potential" to inspire other attackers, the police have warned. The measures have been implemented after a gunman killed two people and injured 21 others outside a popular gay bar in Oslo. The attack took place ahead of the city’s Pride Parade, the highlight of a 10-day LGBTQ+ festival, which was scheduled to start on Saturday but has been canceled.
Police have identified the suspect as Zaniar Matapour, 42, an Iranian-born Norwegian national. The man reportedly has a history of mental disorders and has been known to police for years, Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper has reported, citing court documents it obtained.
Matapour, who arrived in Norway with his family in 1991, was first convicted and then acquitted of complicity in a stabbing as a schoolboy in 1990s, Dagbladet has reported. He was also convicted of "aggravated street violence," it added. In 2015, the police investigated him over possible Islamist links and a year later he was convicted on drug-possession charges. The suspect has been living on disability benefits since 2013, according to the paper.