After the act of violence with five dead and two injured in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg, there are signs of a terrorist background. As the police announced, the arrested suspect was already in the focus of the authorities. There were indications of radicalization in the 37-year-old Dane, said the regional police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud on Thursday in Oslo. “It is a convert to Islam.”
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The police had therefore already contacted him before the crime because of alleged tendencies towards radicalization. “There have been fears of radicalization before,” Saeverud said. These had been followed up in the past year and before. This year, however, there were no more indications of abnormalities in the man.
Police assume lone perpetrators
According to the information, the investigators are now investigating the question of whether the attack should be classified as a terrorist attack. “We are relatively certain that he acted alone,” added Saeverud.
The man is said to have attacked numerous people with multiple weapons, including a bow and arrow, in downtown Kongsberg on Wednesday evening. Five people were killed, four women and one man. According to the police, the victims are between the ages of 50 and 70. In Norway, bows and arrows are not considered a weapon, but rather sports equipment and can therefore be freely purchased by anyone.
Two people were also injured, one of whom was a police officer who was shopping in a supermarket. The injured were brought to the hospital, said the responsible police chief in Kongsberg, Øyvind Aas. You would be in the intensive care unit. However, he has no evidence that their lives are in danger. The small town of Kongsberg is located around 80 kilometers southwest of the capital Oslo, around 22,500 people live in the entire municipality of Kongsberg.
According to the information, the man grew up in Norway and has lived there in different apartments over the years. According to a report by the Swedish broadcaster SVT, the man has already been convicted of crimes. Last year, two close family members were said to have been banned from visiting him after he threatened to kill one of the relatives. Accordingly, he had broken into the apartment and threatened the relatives with a revolver.
Prosecutor: Man has confessed to the crime
The responsible public prosecutor Ann Irén Svane Mathiassen told the Norwegian broadcaster TV2 that the man had admitted the acts. She did not want to give any further information. According to an SVT report, the attacker had received a public defender that night.
“I spoke to my client and he was interrogated. He works with the police and gives a detailed account of what happened, “said lawyer Fredrik Neumann, early Thursday morning, of the Norwegian newspaper” Verdens Gang “. Accordingly, he should be brought before a judge on Thursday or Friday.
Perpetrators shot arrows at police officers
The attacks occurred in several locations in downtown Kongsberg. The perpetrator moved over a larger area, the investigators said. The center of the city had therefore been cordoned off across a large area.
The police had been reported by several people at 6.13 p.m. that an armed man was moving through the city and shooting people with a bow and arrow. He was spotted by a police patrol just five minutes later. However, the officers were shot at with arrows and the man was able to flee. Sæverud said it was likely that the victims were not killed until afterwards.
“I can confirm that there was a direct confrontation between the assassin and the police officer. Then he decided to disappear again and was not under our control for a while, until we discovered him again and were able to arrest him, ”said police chief Aas in Kongsberg earlier. As the Swedish newspaper “Dagens Nyheter” (DN) writes online, the man gave up after police officers fired warning shots.
Police apparently stopped the perpetrators with warning shots
Because of the incident, the police were temporarily armed, the police directorate announced late in the evening. The majority of the Norwegian police officers are usually not armed. It is a readiness measure – there are currently no indications of a change in the threat situation in the country. The Norwegian secret service PST was also informed of the incident.
The act occurred on the eve of the new Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre’s inauguration. The Social Democrat was shocked. “What we heard from Kongsberg tonight shows that a cruel and brutal act has been committed,” he told NTB late in the evening. Støre took over government affairs on Thursday. In his cabinet are two survivors of the terrorist attack on Utøya in 2011.
Act on the eve of the change of government in Norway
The outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg was “shocked” by the fact. “Our thoughts go first of all to those affected and their relatives,” said Solberg late on Wednesday evening at a press conference in Oslo that was called at short notice.
“The reports coming from Kongsberg tonight are horrific,” said Solberg, who had ruled for eight years. “The perpetrator committed terrible acts against several people. It’s a very dramatic situation that hits the community in Kongsberg hard. ”It is important to underline that nothing is known about the incident.
Kongsberg’s mayor, Kari Anne Sand, was also stunned. “This is a tragedy for all concerned. Words fail me, ”she told the Norwegian newspaper“ Verdens Gang ”.
According to the Swedish newspaper DN, Norway’s King Harald wrote in a letter to the chairman of the Kongsberg municipal council on Thursday morning that the royal family was “appalled by the tragic incident”.
Norway’s King Harald is appalled
The letter continues: “We have compassion for the bereaved and injured in their grief and despair. And we think of all those affected in Kongsberg who have seen their safe neighborhood suddenly become a dangerous place, ”the statement said. “Norway is a small country. When Kongsberg as a community is hit this hard, the rest of the nation will be by your side. “
The head of government in neighboring Sweden, Stefan Löfven, wrote on Twitter that his thoughts were with the victims and their families. It was a “terrible attack”.
The incident brings back bad memories: Ten years ago Norway suffered the worst terrorist attack in its modern history. On July 22, 2011, right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik set off a bomb hidden in a white van in the government district of Oslo, killing eight people.
Remembering the Utøya assassination attempt at Breivik
Then he drove to the island of Utøya, about 30 kilometers away, where he pretended to be a police officer and opened fire on the participants in the annual summer camp of the youth organization of the Social Democratic Labor Party.
69 people, mostly teenagers and young adults, were killed on Utøya. Breivik named right-wing extremist and Islamophobic motives for his actions. He was sentenced in August 2012 to the then maximum sentence of 21 years with a minimum imprisonment of ten years.
Another attack hit the headlines in August 2019. At that time, the racist Philip Manshaus carried out an attack on a mosque on the outskirts of Oslo. Manshaus had previously killed his Asian-born stepsister. (AFP, dpa, lem)