News / Europe

Norway Gunman Says He Acted Alone

People mourn the victims of the shooting spree on an island and a bomb attack in the Norwegian capital, around an improvised shrine in Oslo, July 23, 2011
People mourn the victims of the shooting spree on an island and a bomb attack in the Norwegian capital, around an improvised shrine in Oslo, July 23, 2011

The suspect charged in Norway for a twin attack that killed at least 93 people and wounded a further 86 has told police he acted alone. But Norwegian counter-terrorism police say they carried out a raid in eastern Oslo connected to Friday's shootings and bombing. Local media said several people were detained.

Norway’s acting national police chief Sveinung Sponheim spoke to reporters on Sunday.

"He says that he was acting alone, but we have to make sure that is true, that his version is true," said Sponheim.

Some witnesses, he said, have reported seeing more than one gunman.  

As the police investigation continued, mourners across Norway attended church services.

The king and queen of Norway, the prime minister, and some survivors of Friday’s terror attack attended a memorial service at Oslo Cathedral.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said it was a day for mourning. He said every single one of those lost is a tragedy in itself. Together, he said, it is a national tragedy.

At the close of the church service, hundreds of teary-eyed people gathered outside the cathedral laying flower tributes to the dead.

On Friday, a car bomb exploded in central Oslo, killing at least seven people. Within hours a gunman opened fire at a nearby island where young people were attending a weekend summer camp organized by the prime minister’s Labor Party.

At least 85 people were shot dead before a gunman was arrested by police.

The chief suspect in the attack has been named in media reports as Anders Behring Breivik, a 32 year-old Norwegian.

Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad said Saturday his client believes his actions were “atrocious,” but necessary.  He said his client would explain his actions during a hearing Monday.

A profile of a right-wing zealot is beginning to emerge from information the suspect allegedly published over the Internet. A 1,500 page document believed to be written by him details plans for an attack and claims preparations were begun in 2009.

A video posted on YouTube expresses violent opposition to Marxism and multiculturalism in Europe and glorifies Christian crusaders.

Breivik is believed to have in the past been a member of the Progress Party, Norway’s tough-on-immigration political party, which is the second largest in parliament.

Its leader, Siv Jenson, told VOA that the attack was not political.

"This has got nothing to do with right wing politics. This is an extremist who has conducted a terrorist attack, which is very repulsive and we stand together in this tragedy,” said Jenson.

Prime Minister Stoltenberg has said it is “too early” to comment on the motive. He said the terror attacks would not take away the feeling of safety in Norway - a pillar, he said, of the nation.

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