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TERRORISM

Norway charges man for planning terror in Denmark

A 24-year-old man from Norway’s Telemark county has been charged on three counts of being an accomplice in planning terror attacks.

Norway charges man for planning terror in Denmark
File photo: Mads Claus Rasmussen/Ritzau Scanpix

The attacks would have taken place in locations including Denmark and London, Norway’s national broadcaster NRK reports.

The man was apprehended after chat messages were discovered in which he planned the attacks with a second, unknown person, according to the report.

He has also been charged with being connected to the Islamic State (Isis) terror group.

Public prosecutor Geir Evanger said that police in the UK were able to thwart a planned attack in London and that another attack was planned in Denmark, both by the suspect.

“Charges have been brought against a person for three attempts at participating in terror (attacks),” Evanger told NRK.

The charges against the man relate to his activity online, rather than physical terror activities, according to the prosecutor.

“We believe that this is part of the new form of participation in Isis. It is based on sharing extremist material, violent material and material with religious content,” Evanger said. The prosecutor added that police consider the man to have acted as an administrator for a large number of extremist online communities.

Police also suspect the man of sharing Isis propaganda and other material produced by the terror group.

According to the official charges, he shared instructions for making petrol bombs in the chat messages and said that Denmark would become “the new France”.

The attacks in Denmark were planned in March and April 2019 and would have been committed by one or more Danish national, according to NRK’s report.

The man is also suspected of making a video in which he encouraged others to commit violent attacks in Denmark.

The charges against him could result in a 21-year prison sentence if he is found guilty, according to police.

The 24-year-old, who has been in police custody for some time, denies the charges.

Terror, cyber-attacks and espionage: These are the biggest threats to Norway’s security

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TERRORISM

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks

US Vice President Kamala Harris and French Prime Minister Jean Castex laid wreaths at a Paris cafe and France's national football stadium Saturday six years since deadly terror attacks that left 130 people dead.

US vice president lays wreaths at site of 2015 Paris terror attacks
US Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff lay flowers after ceremonies at Le Carillon bar and Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, at which 130 people were killed during the 2015 Paris terror attacks. Photo: Sarahbeth Maney/POOL/AFP

The attacks by three separate teams of Islamic State group jihadists on the night of November 13, 2015 were the worst in France since World War II.

Gunmen mowed down 129 people in front of cafes and at a concert hall in the capital, while a bus driver was killed after suicide bombers blew themselves up at the gates of the stadium in its suburbs.

Harris, wrapping up a four-day trip to France, placed a bouquet of white flowers in front of a plaque honouring the victims outside a Paris cafe.

Castex attended a minute of silence at the Stade de France football stadium, along with Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, before laying wreaths at the sites of the other attacks inside Paris.

In front of the Bataclan concert hall, survivors and relatives of the victims listened to someone read out the names of each of the 90 people killed during a concert there six years ago.

Public commemorations of the tragedy were called off last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Last year we weren’t allowed to come and we all found it really tough,” said Bruno Poncet, who made it out alive of the Bataclan.

But he said the start of a trial over the attacks in September meant that those attending the commemoration this year felt more united.

‘Overcome it all’

“We’ve really bonded thanks to the trial,” he said. “During previous commemorations, we’d spot each other from afar without really daring to speak to each other. We were really shy. But standing up in court has really changed everything.”

The marathon trial, the biggest in France’s modern legal history, is expected to last until May 2022.

Twenty defendants are facing sentences of up to life in prison, including the sole attacker who was not gunned down by police, Salah Abdeslam, a French-Moroccan national who was captured in Brussels. Six of the defendants are being tried in absentia.

Poncet said he felt it was crucial that he attend the hearings. “I can’t possibly not. It’s our lives that are being discussed in that room, and it’s important to come to support the others and to try to overcome it all.”

Survivors have taken to the witness stand to recount the horror of the attacks, but also to describe life afterwards.

Several said they had been struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, grappling with survivor’s guilt, or even feeling alienated from the rest of society.

Saturday’s commemorations are to wrap up with a minute of silence at the Stade de France in the evening before the kick-off for a game between France and Kazakhstan.

It was during a football match between France and Germany that three suicide bombers blew themselves up in 2015.

Then-French president Francois Hollande was one of the 80,000 people in the crowd, before he was discreetly whisked away to avoid triggering mass panic.

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