A Danish man suspected of killing five people and wounding two more in a bow and arrow attack in Norway is a Muslim convert with a criminal record who had been identified as a possible Islamic extremist, police said.
“We are talking about a convert to Islam,” Norwegian Police Chief Ole Bredrup Sæverud said on Thursday. “Before there were fears linked to its radicalization,” he said, but establishing the reason would be “complicated … and will take time.”
Five people, four women and one man, between the ages of 50 and 70 were killed and two others, including an off-duty police officer, were seriously injured in the Wednesday night attacks in central Kongsberg, some 66 kilometers away. (41 miles) southwest. from Oslo.
Sæverud said the 37-year-old suspect had confessed to the attack, the deadliest in Norway in a decade, during a nightly interrogation. “We are investigating, among other things, to determine if it was a terrorist attack,” he said.
Several of the victims were shot at a Coop supermarket in the city, police said, adding that the attacker had used other weapons, as well as a bow and arrows. Both injured are in intensive care, but their condition was not immediately known.
The suspect is being held on preliminary charges, one step away from being indicted, and is believed to have acted alone. The police had previously followed reports of his possible radicalization, but had no reports this year, Sæverud said.
Norwegian public broadcaster, NRK, informed that the suspect had several prior convictions for theft and drug offenses and was sentenced last year to a six-month restraining order that prohibited him from approaching two close relatives after he threatened to kill one of them.
Jonas Gahr Støre, who is expected to take office as Norway’s new prime minister later on Thursday, called the attack “horrible”, adding: “This is unreal. But the reality is that five people have died, many are injured and many are in shock. “
Her predecessor, Erna Solberg, described the attack as “horrifying”, while Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said it was “with great sadness” that she learned of the attack. “My thoughts and condolences go out to the victims and their loved ones,” he said.
Sæverud said the victims died after initial contact between police and the shooter shortly after 6.15pm on Wednesday. “The officers were shot with arrows and lost contact with the perpetrator, who escaped,” he said. NRK.
“After that, there were several reports in various directions that were followed up, and the police launched a major search operation in a large area. Later we found several injured people and the man was arrested at 6.47 pm, ”he said.
Local media reported that the suspect was eventually detained at the city’s Gamlabrua Bridge, citing eyewitnesses who said the main square near Coop was sealed off and a house in the neighborhood was searched for more than two hours. A witness saw a woman being stabbed.
United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Twitter that he was “shocked and saddened by the tragic news from Norway.” It was the country’s deadliest attack since far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in 2011.
Norway has since witnessed another far-right attack, carried out by the self-proclaimed neo-Nazi Philip Manshaus, who opened fire on a mosque on the outskirts of Oslo in 2019 before being dominated by worshipers. No one was seriously injured.
Police said Thursday that the suspect was a Danish national living in Kongsberg. He was in a police cell in the nearby city of Drammen and was due to appear before a judge on Thursday or Friday for a custody hearing, his lawyer said.
“He is cooperating and is giving detailed statements about this event,” attorney Fredrik Neumann told public broadcaster NRK, adding that his client was “deeply affected.” He declined to comment beyond saying that the suspect’s mother was Danish, but it was not known if she had ever lived there.
A woman who witnessed part of the attack, Hansine, told Norway’s TV2 that she had heard an uproar, then saw a woman covering herself and “a man standing in the corner with arrows in a quiver on his shoulder and a bow in hand. “. .
“Later, I saw people running for their lives. One of them was a woman holding a child by the hand, ”he said. Images in the Norwegian media of a black arrow sticking out of a wall and what appeared to be competition arrows lying on the ground.
Another witness Thomas Nilsen, told NRK he “thought it was a war, it was so intense.” After what at first he thought was a “strong fight”, he led “a scream that I have never heard before”. It was a cry that burned in the soul. I will never forget that. I perceived it as a death cry, ”he said.
Shortly after the attack, the Norwegian national police leadership said it had ordered officers across the country to carry firearms, but added that the move was “an additional precaution” and that it had no indication of a change in firearms. national threat level.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism