Norway: Four in custody for plot to kill Israeli ambassador

Norwegian authorities on Friday presented details of an alleged plot to decapitate the Israeli ambassador to Oslo and blow up the Israeli and American embassies in the city. The four suspects, three of them of Muslim background, are also charged with firing at the city’s synagogue last week, causing damage but no injuries.

The evidence against the suspects was revealed in the course of extending the suspects’ remand, and is based on recordings of their conversations obtained by bugging devices placed in the lead suspect’s car. Jewish community representatives say they are shocked by the alleged plot.

At the head of the group of suspects is allegedly a 29-year-old Pakistani-Norwegian with an extensive record of violence.

Two other suspects are also in custody, one of Pakistani and the other of Turkish background, both 28. The youngest suspect, who is 26, is not an immigrant. Norwegian media report he is the son of a royal residence employee. edia reports also indicate that until May, the suspect lived in the residence area, and had been arrested several times on extortion charges.

“The shooting incident at the synagogue was grave enough,” Israel’s Ambassador to Norway Miriam Shomrat told a Norwegian newspaper, “but if there was indeed an assassination plot, this turns into an even more serious matter.”

Shomrat was expected to attend Rosh Hashanah services on Friday evening at the Oslo synagogue. The head of the city’s Jewish community of 7,000, Anne Sender, told Haaretz that its members never considered changing their holiday plans, even after the plot was exposed.

Several anti-Semitic incidents occurred in recent weeks in Oslo. In addition to the synagogue shooting, a person wearing a kippah was attacked and a Jewish cemetery desecrated.

About 70,000 Muslims live in the country, less than 2 percent of the population.

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