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Norway calls off terror alert, no longer sees imminent Islamist attack

Source: Reuters - Thu, 31 Jul 2014 16:55 GMT
Author: Reuters
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OSLO, July 31 (Reuters) - Norway's government called off a week-long terror alert on Thursday, saying an attack by a militant Islamist group with combat training in Syria was no longer seen as imminent.

Security forces had been put on high alert last Thursday with armed units placed at high-risk locations after police received information that a small militant group was on its way to carry out attacks in the West, with Norway among its targets.

The Nordic country will now relax border checks, no longer requiring passports from travellers coming from Europe's Schengen zone, and will recall armed units from the streets.

"The probability that the original information was correct has been reduced," Benedicte Bjoernland, the director of the Police Security Service, the police's intelligence unit, told a news conference. "The threat of an attack is therefore lower."

Scandinavian governments have repeatedly warned that several hundred people have travelled to Syria from Scandinavia for combat training since civil war broke out in Syria two years ago. This, they said, would pose the greatest single security threat to Scandinavia as they could potentially exert great influence on local Muslim communities.

NATO-member Norway has been working to clamp down on militant activity. In May it arrested three people suspected of aiding Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot that has declared a caliphate in parts of Iraq and Syria. (Reporting by Balazs Koranyi and Terje Solsvik; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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