Two terror suspects in Norway were convicted of plotting to bomb a Danish newspaper by an Oslo court on Monday.
Mikael Davud, a Norwegian citizen and member of the Uyghur ethnic group, and Iraqi Kurd Shawan Sadek were sentenced to seven and three-and-a-half years in prison, respectively, for planning an attack on the Jyllands-Posten newspaper, the paper that printed cartoonist Kurt Westergaard's controversial caricatures of the prophet Muhammad in 2005.
The two men, along with Uzbek David Jakobsen, who was acquitted on Monday, were arrested in 2010. All plead not-guilty to the charges of plotting terrorism, but the court determined beyond any doubt that Davud knowingly and voluntarily plotted with Al-Qaeda to carry out a bomb attack against Jyllands-Posten with a bomb that was so powerful that he understood human life could be lost, according to Agence France Presse.
While Jakobsen was acquitted of the terrorism charges, he was sentenced to four months in prison for helping to procure bomb-making material.
Davud and Sadek were also charged with conspiracy to murder Westergaard himself, but three judges in Oslo ruled that there wasn't enough evidence
Davud is believed to have been the mastermind behind the plan, and was responsible for the organization and execution of the attempted bombing.
The court also believes that it was he (Davud) himself who would have carried out the terrorist attack since he has explained that he planned to lay out the explosives himself, the Oslo judges said.
Davud admitted to wanting to attack Chinese interests in Norway, possibly the Chinese Embassy in Oslo. He also denied a connection to al Qaeda, saying he was planning a solo raid and was only using Sadek and Jakobsen to acquire materials.
The Threat of Terror
Earlier this month, the Norwegian security service PST said that Islamic extremism was still the biggest terror threat in the country, although the danger of a home-grown, lone-wolf attack like the only carried out by Anders Breivik in July had increased.
“In 2012 people tied to an extreme Islamic ideology will be our biggest challenge, Agency Chief Janne Kristiansen told local new agencies after publishing its annual report.
According to PST, terrorists are still rallying around Westergaard's Muhammad cartoons, which were republished in Norway. Norway's presence in Afghanistan is also a source of tension.
Kristiansen, who resigned two days after the report came out, also said that single individuals with right-wing, nationalist agendas are a growing threat, especially as continued high migration, combined with weak economic growth and increased unemployment could be creating a foundation for increased conflicts along ethnic, social and economic lines.
Breivik's July attack was done in the name of nationalism and European purism, and he claimed his aims were to expel Islam and immigrants from Europe.