Icelandic anti-terror police arrest four 'right-wing extremists'

World’s most-peaceful nation foils its ‘first terror attack’: Police in Iceland arrest four ‘right-wing extremists’ and seize 3D-printed semi-automatic weapons and ‘thousands’ of rounds of ammunition stockpiled for ‘mass murder plot’

  • Four people were arrested in Iceland yesterday for suspected terrorism offences
  • Police raided nine different locations in a large-scale operation on the island
  • Semi-automatic weapons and thousand of rounds of ammunition were found
  • It is thought they are the first arrests of their type in peaceful country’s history

Icelandic police have arrested four suspected ‘right-wing extremists’ as part of a huge anti-terror sting.

Officials in the small island nation say they found several 3D-printed semi-automatic weapons and ‘thousands’ of rounds of ammunition during raids at nine different locations yesterday.

The country’s national police commissioner said it is investigating the ‘preparation of a terrorist attack’ that could have been targeted towards the country’s parliament and ‘various institutions of society’.

Police said all four Icelanders were arrested in Kopavogur, a suburb of the capital Reykjavik, and the southwestern town of Mosfellsbaer, as part of a large-scale operation that involved 50 officers.

According to one local newspaper those arrested are believed to have connections to Nordic right-wing extremist groups.

Police in Iceland have arrested four people on suspicion of terrorism offences. Pictured: Officers take part in training involving firearms in Reykjavik in March

Authorities in the small island nation say they found semi-automatic weapons and ‘thousands’ of rounds of ammunition in raids yesterday. Pictured: Police taking part in firearm training in March

It is believed these are the first anti-terror arrests in the history of Iceland. Two of the men remain in custody today.

Speaking at a press conference, Karl Steinar Valsson, National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police, said: ‘The origin of the police operations yesterday… was in the context of an investigation into the preparation of a terrorist attack.’

While potential motives were unknown, the targets are believed to be ‘various institutions of society’ and ‘citizens of the state’, according to Valsson, possibly including the parliament and the police itself. 

Police also said they were looking into where there were links between the men and extremist organisations and that they were in contact with foreign authorities. 

‘As far as we know, this is the first time that an investigation of this type has been launched (in Iceland),’ Valsson said.

The Guardian quotes him as saying: ‘It is safe to say that our society is safer than it was.’

He added: ‘We are just starting some work and are seizing a large amount of phones and computers and other such things. All that work is in the very early stages.

‘We took certain measures while we were getting the situation under control. Of course, we don’t want to reveal what the exact response of the police is.

‘At its peak, there were about 50 police personnel who took part in the police operation. With them, we think we’ve covered what we’re investigating and don’t think there’s any danger in travelling.’

According to Icelandic newspaper Stundin, sources claim the men’s connections with extremist groups in other Nordic countries and in other parts of Europe are being investigated. 

It is believed the arrests are the first of their type in the country’s history. Pictured: Officers simulate a police operation in March this year

According to local media, the suspects are thought to have connections to right-wing extremist groups. Pictured: Police take part in training in Reykjavik in March

It added that it is thought many of the weapons have been brought into Iceland and that police believe they themselves were to be the main targets of the attack.

The small nation of 375,000 people has topped the Global Peace Index since it was included in the ranking in 2008 and considered the ‘most peaceful country in the world’. 

Violence is rare, evidenced by one of the lowest crime rates in the world, although a surge in violent crime in recent years has worried the authorities.

Police in Iceland have been monitoring the rise of a neo-Nazi group known as the Nordic Resistance Movement, which has developed a following.

A report by the Office of the Commissioner of the National Police published last years said the organisation could be a threat, adding: ‘It is clear that the Nordic Resistance Movement falls under the groups of right-wing extremists that Norwegians and Swedes consider to be a cause for concern.’

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