Officials from three European security agencies are reporting that a Norwegian man in his thirties received terrorist training from al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The suspect is a Norwegian citizen who converted to Islam in 2008, and is believed to still be in Yemen. Authorities are confirming that the individual is operational and may be awaiting orders to carry out an attack in the west. Western security services have taken undisclosed preventative measures in an effort to thwart a potential attack.
Officials say the man has no criminal record which allows him to travel without restriction.
A security official stated that his target was likely in the West but that a specific location had not yet been chosen.
Yemeni military officials confirmed they had information on Europeans training with al-Qaeda but were unaware that Norwegians were among them.
At this time, authorities have yet to disclose the suspect’s identity but have released some background information.
Al-Qaeda has always attempted to recruit and train operatives who can better blend into western societies for attack. Additionally, they value Europeans, Americans and Canadians for their international access. In the past, al-Qaeda has utilized western operatives for numerous purposes: Australian David Hicks provided material support, American Adam Gadahn serves as a leading propagandist and Belgian Muriel Degauque committed a suicide bombing in Iraq. Western intelligence officials believe that there may be dozens of individuals training or already trained by al-Qaeda affiliates. These factors demonstrate the heightened risk of the homegrown threat.