As the tragic events unfolded in Norway last Friday, many initial reports speculated that the attacks might have been planned by Muslim extremists and had possible links to al Qaeda. Major news outlets reported that a CIA analyst found a group called Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (the Helpers of the Global Jihad) who was claiming responsibility for the attacks. They suggested Norway’s ties with NATO and involvement in Afghanistan had made the country a target.
The U.S. State Department, along with the UK and Japan, recommend that anyone visiting or living in Europe take extra precautions as a suspected al-Qaeda terrorist attack may be brewing in the future. The State Department alert indicates that travelers should not cancel their plans altogether but rather be hypersensitive to their surroundings and enact some safety measures to make them less-likely targets.