Norway arrests al Qaeda-linked suspects over plot

OSLO, (Reuters) – Three men were arrested in Norway  and Germany yesterday on suspicion of plotting attacks and of  having links to al Qaeda as well as people under investigation  in the United States and Britain, Norwegian police said.

Two of the men were arrested in the Oslo region while  Norwegian media said the third man was a Norwegian resident who  was detained during a visit to the German city of Duisburg.

“We believe this group has had links to people abroad who  can be linked to al Qaeda, and to people who are involved in  investigations in other countries, among others the United  States and Britain,” said Janne Kristiansen, who heads the  Police Security Service (PST).

In Washington, a U.S. official, who declined to be  identified, said his government believed an al Qaeda operative,  Saleh al-Somali, had had “a hand” in the plot before he was  killed in a drone strike late last year.   “He had a role in conjuring it up,” the official said,  declining to elaborate. Somali was described by a U.S.  counter-terrorism official at the time that his death was  reported as a senior planner in al Qaeda’s core leadership.

Kristiansen did not give details of the plot nor say which  country might have been the target of a planned attack. Norway,  which has troops in Afghanistan as part of a NATO-led mission,  has never had an al Qaeda-led attack on its soil.

She declined to comment on whether there was a link to  arrests in the United States and Britain.

On Wednesday, the United States charged five men with  plotting to bomb New York City’s subway system and attack an  unidentified target in Britain under orders from al Qaeda  leaders in Pakistan.

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