Norway will arm its police officers in response to unnamed threats to “Jewish and Israeli targets”
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Norway will deploy armed police to counter unspecified threats to Jewish targets
Norwegian police officers will be temporarily armed during New Year’s weekend due to an unspecified “threat” to “Jewish and Israeli targets,” as well as Christian churches, the country’s law enforcement agency announced on Sunday.
Citing a threat assessment by Norway’s Police Security Service, the country’s national police force said that “the threat to Jewish and Israeli targets has intensified in Norway.”
While “there are no concrete threats,” the decision was still made to increase the number of armed officers on the streets throughout New Year’s weekend, the police said. Norwegian police officers normally don’t carry firearms while on foot, but keep submachine guns and pistols in their patrol cars.
The statement also cited a report from the Police Security Service stating that “churches and Christian places of assembly appear as current terrorist targets in Europe.”
While Sunday’s announcement did not cite any concrete evidence of plots against Christian or Jewish sites, law enforcement in Germany, Austria, and Spain have all stepped up security around churches in recent days, citing a plot by an Islamist group to carry out multiple terrorist attacks over the Christmas and New Year period.
Multiple arrests were made before Christmas in Vienna and the German state of Saarland, German tabloid Bild reported last week.
EU officials have warned since the start of the Israel-Hamas war in October that threats against Jews have skyrocketed. “With war between Israel, Hamas and the polarization it causes in our society, with the upcoming holiday season, there is a huge risk of terrorist attacks in the European Union,” European Justice Commissioner Ylva Johansson said earlier this month.
Speaking a day after a German-Filipino tourist was fatally stabbed by an Islamist attacker in Paris, Johansson pledged €30 million ($32.3 million) in EU cash to boost security across the bloc.
In the second week of October alone, the French Interior Ministry made hundreds of arrests in relation to more than 1,000 alleged anti-Semitic incidents. Germany had recorded a similar number of incidents by late November.
Norway’s last Islamist attack took place in 2022, when a 42-year-old Iranian man opened fire on a gay bar in downtown Oslo, killing two people and injuring 21. The perpetrator was arrested and will be put on trial in March.