By Robert Windrem
NBC News Investigative Producer for Special Projects
Senior U.S. officials say they cannot yet ascribe responsibility for Friday's attack on the government building in Oslo.
"What you see is what we know," said a senior administration official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity.
However, they and others point to several possible connections that could lead officials to consider whether al-Qaida is behind the attacks.
- Norwegian special forces have been fighting in Afghanistan for many years and Ayman al Zawahiri, al-Qaida's new leader after the death of Osama bin Laden, has been threatening Norway since 2003, warning that its participation in the U.S.-led military campaign against radical Islam in Afghanistan would result in an attack on the Norwegian homeland. Norwegian special forces operate in central Afghanistan, near Kabul.
- On July 9, 2010, three Norwegians were indicted for planning an attack on targets in Oslo, apparently Chinese targets. Two of the three, a Uighur (Chinese Muslim) and an Uzbeki, were arrested in Norway, while a third, an Iraqi with Norwegian residence, was grabbed in Germany. The detentions were coordinated with arrest in New York of Najibulla Zazi, an Afghan-American man who wanted to blow up New York City subways. The two plots were believed to have been put together by al-Qaida’s central command in Pakistan -- Osama Bin Laden and Zawahiri.
- Last week, Mullah Krekhar, founder of Ansar al Islam (the first Iraqi group affiliated with al-Qaida), was indicted in Oslo for threatening Norwegian government officials with death if he were to be deported. Krekhar took refuge in Oslo in early part of the last decade and has been seeking asylum. In comments to various news media, he threatened attacks if he was sent abroad, mainly on opposition figures who have long called for his extradition to the U.S.
- In January 2006, the Norwegian government apologized to Muslims worldwide after the publication of 12 cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad in the Norwegian newspaper Magazinet