EU counterterrorism experts discuss lessons from Norway attacks
Limiting access to fertilizers and detecting radicalized individuals were among the topics discussed Thursday by European Union counterterrorism experts in an effort to draw lessons from the double attacks in Norway that claimed 76 lives, dpa reported.
"The issue of 'lone-wolf terrorism,' represented by terrorists that are self-radicalized ... with no obvious attachment to any terrorist organization, seems to require increasing attention," they said in a statement.
A 32-year-old Norwegian with links to the far right, Anders Behring Breivik, has been charged with setting off a bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and shooting 68 to death at a political youth camp on Utoya island.
Counterterrorism officials acknowledged that it would have been near impossible to prevent the attack.
"Breivik went to great lengths to prevent detection," Tim Jones, a senior EU counterterrorism adviser, told reporters, and that the "sheer unexpected nature" of the incident made it all the more shocking.
"We're talking about statistically very remote occurrences," he said. "The fact that something is very difficult is not a reason not to do it. But the answer eventually will be multi-layered. There will be no single magic bullet."
The experts did not agree on concrete measures, but were briefed by Norwegian officials and started exchanging ideas on what policy changes could be made, officials said.
They noted that Europol, the European agency for police cooperation, has already mobilized its experts and the chiefs of seven European countries to help Norway with its investigation, for instance when it comes to international leads.
Thursday's talks, meanwhile, touched upon potential new measures - for instance to improve information-sharing - and others that are already in the works, such as controls on fertilizers that could be used for bombs and a Europe-wide network to prevent radicalization.
"We have to think about how we're going to improve ourselves permanently because we always from time to time face such phenomena," said one EU official.