SHAFAQNA – Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran Odyssey Norheim said tens of Norwegian nationals have joined the ISIL, sounding the alarm over the risk of attacks inside Norway once the extremists return home.
“There are around 50-70 Norwegian citizens who have joined the ranks of the ISIL,” Norheim told FNA on Sunday.
The Norwegian ambassador reiterated that her government is concerned about the return of the Norwegian militants to the European country, and said, “The (Norwegian) government has taken preemptive measures to prevent the Norwegian nationals from joining the ISIL.”
Norheim pointed to the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq, and said, “The Norwegian government is against military action in Syria and it proposes political solution instead.”
Earlier this month, the head of the British intelligence agency MI5 Andrew Parker said that Al-Qaeda is planning attacks on western countries.
According to him, in particular, the terrorist group is preparing attacks on transport infrastructure and landmarks, and the terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom could occur with high probability. Parker added that the ISIL is also planning attacks in the country.
In September, EU Counter-Terrorism Chief Gilles de Kerchove announced that the number of Europeans joining Takfiri fighters in Syria and Iraq had jumped by a third to around 3,000 in a few months.
“My own assessment is that we’re about 3,000,” Kerchove said at the time.
In June, he said there were 2,000 such fighters from Europe.
The European fighters, he said, come mainly from France, Britain, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark but a few come from Spain, Italy, Ireland and now Austria.
“Even a country like Austria I think has now foreign fighters, which I was not aware of before,” Kerchove added.
He estimated that between 20 and 30 percent have now returned to their home countries.
“Some have resumed a normal life while others are suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. But some have become radicalized and dangerous,” Kerchove warned.
He said EU countries will prosecute militants if they have evidence they have joined a radical organization, and will discreetly monitor those for whom they have no evidence.
“The challenge is for each member state to assess each and every returnee, assess their dangerousness and provide the adequate response,” Kerchove said.