Norway puts 3 on trial for plotting terror attacks

OSLO, March 31 (Reuters) - A Norwegian court on Monday began trying three men accused of plotting attacks on the U.S. and Israeli embassies and shooting at a synagogue, the first to be tried under Norway's tougher anti-terrorism laws.

Officials said Arfan Bhatti, 30, born in Norway of Pakistani background, was charged with plotting to attack the U.S. and Israeli embassies and firing at least 13 shots with an automatic weapon into the wall of a synagogue in Oslo in September 2006.

Another man, 30, of Turkish origin, is accused of taking part in the synagogue attack and a 28-year-old Norwegian is charged with being an accomplice in the embassy plot.

All three denied the charges.

They face jail terms of up to 12 years if convicted of conspiring to carry out acts of terror.

No one was hurt in the night-time synagogue shooting.

Police detained Bhatti and three suspected accomplices days after the synagogue shooting and after security agents bugged Bhatti's car and picked up conversations about plans to attack the embassies, the court heard. One of the four was later released.

The trial is expected to take about 40 days. Commentators said it would show how Norway's anti-terrorism legislation, adopted after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks in the United States, would be applied. (Reporting by John Acher)