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Norway Attack: Why? And Who Was Behind It?

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OSLO BOMB
AP

Why Norway and who is responsible? They were questions authorities asked themselves after some seven people were killed in Norway's twin attacks Friday.

Whether or not the attacks were linked to national or international terrorists was not yet clear, but officials said that no known nationalist group could have had the capability to pull off such an attack.

The New York Times reported a terror group, the Helpers of the Global Jihad, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, said Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at C.N.A.

Though the tranquil Scandinavian country hasn't seen attacks as severe as these since World War II, Norway is far from isolated when it comes to its foreign policy leaving it open to terrorist attacks.

Not only does Norway's NATO membership mean it has troops in both Afghanistan and Libya, but the nation's three national newspapers also printed the controversial Prophet Mohammed cartoons in 2005-2006, reports The Telegraph.

Al Qaeda have also been known to be active in Norway, with three arrests related to a planned terrorist attack in the country last year. According to Foreign Policy's interview with Kristian Berg Harpviken, director of Norway's Peace Research Institute Oslo, Al Qaeda is "the only concrete supposition".

Other aspects that put the country at risk is its involvement in peace negotiations. Home to the Nobel Peace Prize, Norway hosted the 1993 Oslo Accords between the Israelis and Palestinians.

A more telling example of Norway's most recent active leadership in conflict resolution appears in an Economist article last month, which cites how the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs hosted a session called "Talking to the Taliban" where conflict negotiators actually rubbed shoulders with a couple of Afghan Taliban.

A further invitation for a terrorist attack could also be attributed to a statement Thursday from the Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store who said the time was ripe to open negotiations with banned Islamist terror group Al-Shabaab.

Though world leaders and international organizations from the E.U. to NATO and the U.S. and the U.K. have condemned the Oslo attacks and offered Norway their condolences, none have yet assigned responsibility.

Whoever turns out to be responsible, it's clear Norway's international role in peace and conflict hasn't come without risk. And if Al-Qaeda was involved, Norwegian nationals, or foreigners fluent in the language, were probably available to carry out the attack.

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