Men linked to terror group arrested in Norway, Bulgaria

June 1, 2022 GMT

COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — Two men have been arrested in Norway and Bulgaria respectively for having “expressed support” for Al-Qaida “through “internet-based activities,” Norway’s domestic security agency said Wednesday.

One suspect was arrested in Oslo and the other - identified as a Norwegian student - was taken into custody in Bulgaria as part of a coordinated action in the early hours of Tuesday, said Thomas Blom, a prosecutor with the agency, known by its acronym PST. Norwegian media said there is a family connection between the men.

The suspect in Norway was ordered held for two weeks ahead of his trial. He hasn’t been identified.

Blom said the arrest in Bulgaria took place on the strength of a European arrest warrant issued by the prosecuting authority in Norway where an investigation had been launched.

Bulgarian authorities confirmed the arrest of a Norwegian citizen who is being investigated in Norway on charges of membership in a terrorist organization, preparing of a terrorist attack and inciting terrorism.

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The prosecutor’s office in Sofia said that the suspect was arrested in the southern city of Stara Zagora.

The Bulgarian agency for national security said that before and after arriving in Bulgaria, the suspect had urged in online messages for terrorist acts inside and outside of Europe and had maintained close online links with other radicalized individuals.

Bulgarian authorities said they believe no terrorist acts were planned to be carried out in Bulgaria or that a terrorist cell was being set up in the country, the prosecutor’s office said.

Blom who declined to give details on the Oslo suspect, said he expects the man arrested in Bulgaria to be extradited to Norway soon.

Speaking to VG newspaper, Per Zimmer, a court-appointed defense lawyer for the suspect arrested in Norway, offered no details about the case other than to say that his client insists he’s innocent and that he hasn’t been a part of a terror organization.

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Veselin Toshkov in Sofia contributed to this report.