Iraqi Kurdish cleric attacked in Norway

Attackers fired shots into the Oslo apartment of a Kurdish cleric who founded an Iraqi-based insurgent group, injuring one of his relatives, Norwegian police said.

Iraqi Kurdish cleric attacked in Norway

Attackers fired shots into the Oslo apartment of a Kurdish cleric who founded an Iraqi-based insurgent group, injuring one of his relatives, Norwegian police said.

Mullah Krekar, the 53-year-old founder of the group Ansar al-Islam, was not hurt in the shooting early Monday, but his son-in-law was shot in the arm and taken to a local hospital for treatment, police said.

Witnesses saw two men fleeing the scene, but police said in a statement they had "no suspects". They were also investigating whether a car that was set ablaze in a nearby parking lot shortly after the shooting was connected to the incident.

Investigators are treating the incident as attempted murder but it's not clear whether Krekar was the intended target, said Grethe Lien Metlid, of the Oslo police force's violent crimes unit.

Krekar, born Najm al-Din Faraj Ahmad, founded Ansar al-Islam while a refugee in Norway.

Krekar's lawyer, Brynjar Meling, told broadcaster NRK the shooters tried to break into the apartment before firing in what he said appeared to be "a well-planned and professional attack."

He did not say whether he believed any specific group was responsible for the shooting, though he acknowledged that Krekar frequently receives threats.

Metlid said "several shots" were fired around 2 a.m. from a covered walkway outside the fifth-floor apartment.

She said five people – Krekar, his wife, son, daughter and son-in-law – were in the apartment at the time. The son-in-law, identified only as a 27-year-old man visiting from London, was the only person injured. His wounds were not serious and he was released from the hospital after receiving treatment, Metlid said.

Krekar has said he no longer leads Ansar al-Islam.

Norway ordered the cleric deported in 2005 after declaring him a national security threat, but authorities have refused to expel him because of the security situation in Iraq.

Ansar al-Islam held a string of villages in northern Iraq on the border with Iran until the U.S.-led invasion of 2003. Most of the group fled the assault by U.S. and Kurdish forces and joined insurgents elsewhere in Iraq.


Agencies


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