Iceland Cops Foil 'Unprecedented' Terror Plot

Police seize firearms, ammo apparently meant to be used in terror attacks, a rare phenomenon in that nation
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2022 8:10 AM CDT
After Raid, Iceland Is 'Safer Than It Was' Before
Icelandic police officers attend a demonstration outside the Central Bank of Iceland in Reykjavik on Oct. 10, 2008.   (AP Photo/Arni Torfason)

A raid Wednesday in and near Reykjavik turned up not only a mess of firearms and ammunition, but also the discovery of an alleged terror plot that was apparently foiled. Gunnar Horour Garoarsson, a spokesman for Iceland's national police force, announced that four native men, all believed to be in their 20s or 30s, were arrested "in connection with an investigation into planned preparations for terrorist acts," per CNN. Authorities seized dozens of guns, including semi-automatic weapons that were 3D-printed, as well as "thousands" of rounds of ammo from nine locations around the capital city, says Karl Steinar Valsson, the country's police commissioner, reports the Guardian.

The suspects—who were arrested in the towns of Kopavogur and Mosfellsbaer, on the outskirts of the city—were planning to target "citizens of the state" and "various institutions of society," police say, with Valsson noting those targets may have included Iceland's Parliament and the police themselves. He says that authorities are still gathering evidence, including computers and phones, and that 50 or so officers were involved in the sting. "These operations and investigations are unprecedented in Iceland," says Garoarsson, per CNN, adding that authorities believe the public is no longer at risk.

Armed crime is rare in the country of 375,000, which has topped the Global Peace Index for nearly 15 years, per Euronews. There have been only around 50 gun deaths over the past decade for which stats are available, and most of them were suicides. The suspects had been under the watchful eye of the cops because of the alleged "intended production and sale of firearms," police say. Local media report that the authorities were investigating possible ties to far-right Nordic extremist organizations, such as the Nordic Resistance Movement, a neo-Nazi group that "has gained a foothold in Iceland," per the Guardian. Now, however, after the raid, "it is safe to say that our society is safer than it was," Valsson says. (Read more Iceland stories.)

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