The alleged perpetrator of the archery attack that left five dead Kongsberg, in southeastern Norway, on Wednesday, is a Danish convert to Islam with whom the police had been in contact “for fear that he would become radicalized,” investigators reported Thursday.
“He is a convert to Islam”, declared a Norwegian police official, Ole Bredrup Saeverud, during a press conference held this Thursday in Tønsberg.
SIGHT: Norway: a man armed with a bow and arrows kills five people
“There were fears related to a radicalization” of the individual, presented as a 37-year-old Dane, he added. Those fears, which prompted authorities to keep an eye on him, date back to 2020 and earlier.
Five people died and two others were injured in this attack, which caused a great commotion in the peaceful Scandinavian kingdom, where two far-right attacks were perpetrated in the last decade.
“We are investigating […] to clarify if it is a terrorist attack ”, Ole Bredrup Saeverud underlined. “We are relatively sure that he acted alone.”
The victims are four women and a man between 50 and 70 years old, he said, explaining that none of the injured was in critical condition. The suspect acknowledged the facts during questioning, according to police.
The individual, a 37-year-old Danish resident of Kongsberg, a city of about 25,000 inhabitants located about 80 km west of Oslo, appeared before investigators on Wednesday night and this Thursday will be presented before a judge, facing his probable provisional arrest.
According to his lawyer, Fredrik Neumann, the suspect was cooperative.
“He explains himself in detail and talks and cooperates with the police”, the lawyer declared to the press.
The attack took place at various points in a large area of Kongsberg, especially in a supermarket, where an off-duty police officer was injured.
Alerted at 6:12 p.m. (4:12 p.m. GMT), the police arrested the suspect more than half an hour later, at 6:47 p.m. The officers were attacked with arrows during the operation, for which they fired warning shots.
According to the police, the suspect also used other weapons, although they did not specify what type.
The testimonies gave an account of the terror that gripped the residents of Kongsberg at the time of the events.
Hansine, a woman who partially witnessed the attack, told TV2 that she heard a scandal and saw a woman taking refuge and “a man on the street corner with arrows in a quiver on his back and a bow in his hand.”
“Then I saw people running for their lives. One was a woman who was holding a child by the hand ”, he told that television.
The attack occurred on the last day of the term of the conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who on Thursday will hand over the reins of government to a new center-left Executive led by Jonas Gahr Støre, who won the September 13 legislative elections.
This Thursday, Støre lamented “horrible acts”.
“We are horrified by the tragic events in Kongsberg”, King Harald V reacted, while the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, declared himself “shocked and saddened” in a tweet.
In response to the attack, the Norwegian police leadership decreed that the officers, who are generally unarmed, would temporarily carry weapons across the country.
NorwayA generally peaceful country, it has been the scene of far-right attacks in the past.
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people by detonating a bomb near the government headquarters in Oslo, before opening fire at a Labor Youth rally on the island of Utøya.
In August 2019, Philip Manshaus fired at a mosque on the outskirts of Oslo, before being subdued by the crowd, without seriously injuring himself. Before the attack, he shot down his adopted Asian sister for racism.
The authorities have also thwarted several Islamist attacks.
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