Norway arrests three for aiding al Qaeda offshoot in Syria, joining as fighters

OSLO Tue May 27, 2014 5:26am EDT

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OSLO (Reuters) - Norway has arrested three people suspected of aiding an al Qaeda offshoot fighting in Syria, at least two of which are accused of having joined the militant group as foreign fighters, Norwegian police said on Tuesday.

The men, two of whom were born in the former Yugoslavia and another in Somalia, pose a threat to Norway and its allies, police said in a statement.

"There are reasonable grounds to suspect two of the persons charged of having participated as foreign fighters for The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Syria," the Police Security Service said.

The police did not specify a charge for the third person but said all three are accused of providing either financial or material aid to the ISIL.

"The group (ISIL) has conducted systematic torture and massacres of the civil population and these attacks may be characterized as crimes against humanity," the police added.

ISIL, a rogue and disowned Iraqi branch of Qaeda, is waging war and holds territory in both Iraq and Syria. It is also battling al Qaeda's official Syria wing, the Nusra Front, and has already displaced tens of thousands of civilians. [ID:nL6N0NY217]

(Reporting by Balazs Koranyi; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

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