... there is a specific jihadist connection here:Update#5: THEY WANTED TO KILL MORE: UNDETONATED EXPLOSIVES FOUND
“Just nine days ago, Norwegian authorities filed charges against Mullah Krekar, an infamous al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist who, with help from Osama bin Laden, founded Ansar al Islam – a branch of al Qaeda in northern Iraq – in late 2001.”
This is a sobering reminder for those who think it’s too expensive to wage a war against jihadists.
I spoke to Gary Schmitt of the American Enterprise Institute, who has been critical of proposed cuts in defense and of President Obama’s Afghanistan withdrawal plan.
“There has been a lot of talk over the past few months on how we’ve got al-Qaeda on the run and, compared with what it once was, it’s become a rump organization. But as the attack in Oslo reminds us, there are plenty of al-Qaeda allies still operating. No doubt cutting the head off a snake is important; the problem is, we’re dealing with global nest of snakes.”
UPDATE#4: GLOBAL JIHAD FORUMS APPLAUD THE ATTACK
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.UPDATE: 7 DEAD; BLAST FOLLOWED BY SHOOTING ATTACK NORTH OF OSLO
A large explosion shook central Oslo on Friday and blew out the windows of several government buildings, including one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister, according to local media reports. There were initial reports of several injuries.Initial media reports described a chaotic scene as police cleared the area around the building and were searching for additional explosives, according to the daily Aftenposten. Photos and television footage showed a 17-story building with windows blown out and the surrounding street strewn with glass and debris.
The sound of the blast echoed across the city just before 3:30 local time, and a giant cloud of white smoke continued to rise hundreds of feet into the air over the city as a fire burned in one of the buildings. Reuters said the fire was in the building housing the country’s oil ministry.
Norwegian media reported that the prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, was safe.
The cause of explosion was not immediately clear, but a Reuters reporter described seeing the mangled wreckage of a car near one of the buildings.
While has seen little political violence in recent years, the country has a small fighting contingent in and was one of several countries cited by Ayman al-Zawahri, the Al Qaeda leader, as potential targets for attack. In 2006, Norwegian newspapers reprinted Danish cartoons that angered Muslims by lampooning the Prophet Muhammad.
Three Norwegian men were arrested in July 2010 on suspicion of terrorism and were said to be a terrorist “node” in a larger global network, American counterterrorism officials said at the time.