Semi-Automatic Weapons Seized During Domestic-Terror Plot Raid

Weapons and ammunition

Last week, the police arrested four Icelandic men suspected of planning a domestic-terrorism attack. During a press conference today, the police stated that numerous weapons, including semi-automatic firearms and 3D-printed components, had been seized during the investigation. Two of the suspects remain in custody and are being held in isolation.

The “first investigation of its kind”

Four Icelandic men were arrested last Wednesday, September 21, suspected of “terrorist plots” against state institutions and civilians. Two of the suspects were immediately released; the other two have remained in custody.

According to the police, the suspects had hoarded numerous weapons – including dozens of semi-automatic guns and 3D-printed components – alongside a considerable amount of ammunition. The men, all of whom are in their twenties, had discussed carrying out an attack during the police’s annual celebration (to be held on Saturday, October 1).

Chief Police Inspector Karl Steinar Valsson told reporters last week that this was the “first investigation of its kind to be launched in Iceland.”

Press conference
Grímur Grímsson and Sveinn Ingiberg at today’s press conference (Photo: Golli)

A long-awaited press conference

At 3 PM today, the police authorities held another press conference to update the public on the state of the investigation.

Taking their places behind their respective podia, Grímur Grímsson, Chief of the Capital Area Police, and Sveinn Ingiberg Magnússon, Chief of Police for the District Attorney’s Office, began by revealing that the National Police Commissioner, Sigríður Björk Guðjónsdóttir, had recused herself from the investigation as an individual connected to her had been named in the investigation.

According to Grímur, the police have executed 17 search warrants and seized numerous firearms, some of which had been assembled with 3D-printed components and others that had been modified to function as automatic weapons. The authorities have also seized magazines, bullets, silencers, and knives. Nevertheless, Grímur observed, the threat of a terrorist attack in Iceland “remains low“ and the police have seen no reason to raise the alert level: “There’s no reason to believe that we, as a society, are not safe,” Grímur remarked.

Grímur also noted that the investigation was complicated and time consuming: “We have eight different units working on the investigation. We’re investigating the 3D printer, various electronic data, weapons, and tips from the public. We’ve also sent quite a bit of data to police authorities in the Nordic countries and to Europol so that they may assist in our processing of the evidence.”

Police authorities
Grímur and Sveinn speak to reporters (Golli)

The suspects are being held in isolation

After the press conference, Grímur and Sveinn fielded a few questions, most of which were deflected on the grounds that the police could “not comment during this stage of the investigation.” It was revealed, however, that the two suspects are being held in isolation and that the police had arrested them less than 24 hours after suspicions of a domestic terrorism attack had emerged.

Grímur and Sveinn concluded the press conference by encouraging the public to report any suspicion of 3D-printed firearms or ammunition to the police.

This article was updated at 10.50 AM on Friday, September 30.

Bill to Ban Oil Exploration to Be Resubmitted

Minister of the Environment Guðlaugur Þór Guðlaugsson has announced that he will resubmit a bill to Parliament banning oil exploration within Iceland’s exclusive economic zone, RÚV reports. The ban is “fully consistent with the government’s climate policy,” says the minister.

Focusing on green, Icelandic energy

Last spring, Minister of the Environment Guðlaugur Þór Guðlaugsson submitted a bill to Parliament banning oil exploration within Iceland’s exclusive economic zone. The bill was in line with the ruling parties’ government agreement, which stipulated that the authorities would not grant any oil-exploration licences (while also setting a few climate-related goals, among them Iceland becoming carbon-neutral by 2040).

Although the bill was not voted on prior to Parliament’s summer hiatus, the minister has now announced his intention of resubmitting the bill this fall, RÚV reports. The ban will not only extend to oil exploration within Iceland’s exclusive economic zone but will also ban all research and oil and gas processing in the area. The bill implies revisions to several Icelandic laws.

When asked by RÚV whether eliminating this option during the energy crisis in Europe was wise, the minister responded thusly: “This option would not solve our current problems. Any benefit from oil exploration would not be felt in a matter of years – but decades. We do, however, need energy, and we’ve got it. We know how to generate energy, by which I’m referring to geothermal heat, hydroelectric power, and other alternatives.”

As noted by RÚV, the history of oil exploration in Iceland is relatively brief, having mostly been focused on the so-called “Dragon Zone” to the northeast of Iceland. The first oil-exploration licences were granted in 2012. Three companies were granted licences, all three of which have since relinquished them (the last of which in 2018).

The minister clarified that any criticism of the bill, which was “perfectly natural,” stemmed mainly from the observation that Europe, and the world at large, was facing an energy crisis – but that that energy was needed quickly.

“Those countries with which we like to compare ourselves – not just because of climate change but also because they’re trying not to rely on Russia – are trying to find [cleaner solutions fast], which is why our focus is, first and foremost, on green Icelandic energy.”

In a “prime position”

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir addressed the bill during her keynote speech before Parliament, observing that Iceland was in a “prime position” to transition to greener sources of energy for the sake of public and planetary good, by ensuring, among other things, that energy companies owned by the Icelandic government would not be sold.

“A bill will be submitted that will ban oil exploration in Iceland’s exclusive economic zone. It’s important that this bill be passed for it offers a clear message to the world: Iceland intends to do its part when it comes to the greatest challenge of our time; we are driving full-speed ahead out of the carbon economy – and into a new, green economy,” Katrín stated.

Keflavík Airport Reopened After Bomb Threat

Keflavík airport

Keflavík Airport was closed for approximately four hours this morning after a bomb threat, RÚV reports. The threat was made in relation to a UPS jet that landed at the airport before midnight yesterday.

No bomb found

Keflavík International Airport has been reopened following a bomb threat last night.

According to a public statement from the Suðurnes Police this morning, the threat was made in relation to a UPS cargo plane – headed from Cologne, Germany to Kentucky, USA – which landed in Keflavík Airport at just after 11 PM yesterday.

The threat was received at 22.47 PM last night, and all air traffic was subsequently directed away from the airport, which was closed for approximately four hours as police authorities investigated the matter. No bomb has been found.

According to Isavia, all of today’s flights are on schedule, reports.

Fireworks and firearm replicas

As reported by Vísir at 8.52 AM, the Suðurnes Police discovered a box aboard the UPS cargo plane that contained fireworks and firearm replicas. An investigation is ongoing.

This article will be updated.