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Norway closes embassy in Afghan capital

/ Source: The Associated Press

Norway closed its embassy in the Afghan capital Kabul Sunday because of "terror threats," a Foreign Ministry spokeswoman said.

Kristin Melsom said the embassy had been closed until further notice. She would not elaborate on the nature of the threats or how long the embassy would remain closed.

"It is too early to comment on that," she said.

Norway has been singled out at least twice by al-Qaida as a nation that should be targeted because of its deployment in Afghanistan and a previous deployment in Iraq. Norwegian Defense Minister Anne-Grete Strom-Erichsen on Friday confirmed that Norway will add 200 extra troops to its 500 soldiers in Afghanistan with the deployment of special forces and helicopters in March.

Al-Qaida has urged Muslims to seek revenge for cartoons of Islam's Prophet Muhammad that appeared in several European publications. Norway, Denmark and France were named as countries that should be targeted.

In a security document dated Jan. 20, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry listed 15 locations — including Norway's embassy — that could be targeted by militants.

"According to detective reports, the enemies plan to launch a series of suicide attacks, explosions and harmful activities in Kabul city," said the report, which was obtained by The Associated Press in Kabul. "(F)or this purpose, the enemies' first plan is to target some more vulnerable infrastructures of Kabul city."

The embassies of Sweden, Belgium, India, Turkey, Finland and Indonesia were also listed. Government offices and three well-known Kabul hotels were also said to be possible targets.

The luxury Serena Hotel in Kabul, which was attacked by Taliban militants in January, was among those listed. A Norwegian journalist who was there to cover a visit by the country's foreign minister was killed in that attack.