The Norwegian authorities held a press conference on Thursday to outline the profile of the suspect in the archery attack which left five dead the night before.
The archery attack that left five dead and two injured in Norway at this point looks like a “Terrorist act”, estimated the Norwegian security services (PST) on Thursday, thus helping to consolidate the trail of Islamist terrorism. Earlier, the police had already indicated that the alleged perpetrator of the attack which mourned the city of Kongsberg (south-east) on Wednesday was a 37-year-old man converted to Islam and suspected in the past of radicalization , without however categorically concluding on the motives which animated it.
The police had been in contact with the suspect in the past for “Fears of radicalization”, Norwegian police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud explained during a press briefing. These fears, which have given rise to follow-up, date back to 2020 and before, he said. According to the TV2 television channel, the suspect had a medical history.
Police also said the five dead were all killed after the first contact between law enforcement and the suspect, who admitted to the facts during questioning. Reported for his violent behavior, the man indeed managed to escape the police, on whom he shot arrows. He was arrested half an hour after the first stop attempt, police said. The victims have not yet been formally identified. Police said, however, that they were four women and a man, aged 50 to 70.
A Danish national residing in Kongsberg, a small town of about 25,000 inhabitants about 80 kilometers west of Oslo, the suspect was heard by investigators overnight and is due to be brought before a judge this Thursday or Friday in view. of his remand in custody. According to his lawyer, Fredrik Neumann, he is cooperative. “He explains himself in detail and he speaks and cooperates well with the police”, he told reporters.
The attack occurred in several places over a large area of Kongsberg, including a supermarket. It was there that a policeman, who was not on duty at the time, was injured. The press published photos of black arrows, obviously of competition, lying on the ground or, for one of them, firmly embedded in a wall. Police said the suspect also used other weapons, the nature of which has not been specified.
The attack, with an unusual modus operandi, occurred on the last day of the mandate of Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who is due to hand over the reins this Thursday to a new center-left government led by Jonas Gahr Støre, winner of the parliamentary elections of September 13. “We are horrified by the tragic events in Kongsberg”, King Harald V also reacted, while UN chief Antonio Guterres said he was in a tweet“Shocked and saddened”.
In response to the attack, police, who are usually unarmed, will temporarily carry weapons across the country. Several planned Islamist attacks have been foiled in Norway in the past. But the peaceful Scandinavian nation has been bereaved by two far-right attacks in the past decade.
On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people by detonating a bomb near the seat of government in Oslo, killing eight, before opening fire on a Labor Youth rally on the island of Utøya, causing 69 other victims.
In August 2019, Philip Manshaus also shot in a mosque near Oslo, before being overpowered by worshipers, without causing serious injuries. He had previously racially shot his adoptive half-sister, of Asian origin.
Updated October 14, 2021 at 2:22 p.m., with statements from the Norwegian security services.