A 17-year-old asylum-seeker from Russia was arrested Sunday in connection with an explosive device found near a busy subway station in Norway's capital that police defused before it detonated, authorities said. The youth was detained on suspicion of handling explosives, but investigators do not know if he planned to carry out an attack with the homemade device, Signe Aaling, chief prosecutor for Norway's PST security service, said. Aaling described the explosive as "a primitive improvised explosive device with limited damage potential," the AP reports. "PST is now working on finding his intentions and find out whether others are involved," she said. The explosive was found on the street just outside the Groenland subway station Saturday night.
The youth was not identified, but security service head Benedicte Bjornland said Norwegian intelligence was aware of him. He is an asylum-seeker from Russia who arrived in Norway with his family in 2010, Bjornland said. Bjornland also alleged that the youth was part of "extreme Islamism" circles in Norway. He was arrested based on a tip from the public, Bjornland said without elaborating. "It is likely that that attacks in France, German, Great Britain, Russia and Sweden can create a copycat effect in Norway with people with Islamic sympathies," Bjornland said, listing the locations of extremist attacks that have devastated Europe in the last year. (The suspect in the recent attack in Sweden was a failed asylum-seeker from Uzbekistan.)