Norway | The Oslo shooting is being treated as an “act of Islamist terrorism”.

(Oslo) Norway’s domestic intelligence agency (PST), which is in charge of counter-terrorism, announced on Saturday that it was treating the deadly shooting, which took place overnight near a gay bar in the center of Oslo, as an “act of Islamist terrorism”. .

Posted at 7:37
Updated at 8:45am

Pierre-Henry DESSHAYES with Viken KANTARCI
Media Agency France

The suspect, who was arrested shortly after the attack with two dead and 21 injured, “has a long history of violence and threats,” and the PST has called him “since 2015 related to concerns about his radicalization” and his membership “in” has an extremist Islamist network on its radar,” said the head of services, Roger Berg, during a press conference.


PHOTO RN E. BORGEN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A victim’s body is carried on a stretcher.

The Oslo police had previously introduced the suspect as a 42-year-old Norwegian of Iranian descent, but who was also known to the PST for minor crimes.

According to Mr. Berg, the secret services spoke to him last month, but did not rule at the time that the person concerned had “violent intentions”.

The PST is also aware of “difficulties surrounding his mental health,” he said.

The intelligence services have also increased threats against the Scandinavian country, classifying the situation as “extraordinary”.

“He is suspected of manslaughter, attempted manslaughter and an act of terrorism,” said a police officer, Christian Hatlo, at a news conference.

This last count is motivated by “the number of wounded and killed, the number of crime scenes—at least three—and […] There is good reason to believe that he intended to sow terror,” he added.

According to the police, the vital prognosis of the injured person is not or no longer being used.

The shooting happened around 1am outside a pub, Per på hjørnet, and then outside a nearby gay club, the London Pub, in what was then a crowded area on a hot summer night.


PHOTO OLIVIER MORIN, FRANCE PRESS AGENCY

detectives at the crime scene

“There are reasons to believe this is a hate crime,” Mr Hatlo added, citing the nature of the locations attacked, “particularly the London Pub”.

The LGBT pride march that was due to take place in Oslo on Saturday afternoon has been cancelled.

Following “clear” police recommendations, “all events related to Oslo Pride will be cancelled,” the organizers wrote in a statement.

As a show of solidarity, many people, often in tears and in silence, came to lay rainbow flags and bouquets of flowers near the crime scene cordoned off by police, AFP journalists noted.


PHOTO OLIVIER MORIN, FRANCE PRESS AGENCY

A woman lays a wreath near the crime scene.

“Today is a day that reminds us that Pride is a day we have to fight for, the goal has not yet been reached,” said Trond Petter Aunås on site.

At this point, police believe the perpetrator of the shooting acted alone, although investigations must reveal possible complicity in the preparation.

Police forces in the capital have been reinforced to deal with possible other incidents and officers who are generally unarmed in Norway have been ordered to arm themselves across the kingdom.

For their part, the anti-terrorist services said they were working to “find out whether further attacks might have been planned”. “At the moment we have no indications in this direction,” the PST said on Twitter.

“Scenery of War”

The suspect was arrested at 1.19am on Saturday, five minutes after initial reports.

Civilians assisted in his capture as well as first aid, according to police, who hailed “a heroic effort”.

The man had previously faced police charges for minor offenses such as carrying a knife or a conviction for possession of narcotics.

Two weapons were seized in connection with the attack: an automatic weapon and a handgun, which Mr Hatlo presented as ‘old’.

A witness interviewed by the newspaper Verden walk (VG) summoned “a theater of war”. “There were a lot of casualties on the ground who had head injuries,” he said.

According to an NRK journalist present at the time of the shooting, the shooter came with a bag from which he pulled a gun, which he fired.

On Saturday, a black bag could still be seen on the sidewalk in a broken glass-strewn area where forensic scientists were busy.


NTB PHOTO, VIA REUTERS

A suspect’s bag

“The shooting outside the London pub in Oslo tonight is a terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people,” said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

“To the homosexuals who are afraid and grieving now, I want to say that we are all with you,” he wrote on Facebook.

An intergovernmental conference is planned for 2 p.m.

King Harald said he was “appalled”. “We must come together to defend our values: freedom, diversity and mutual respect,” he said in an official statement.

Generally peaceful Norway was nonetheless the scene of bloody attacks, such as those carried out by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik on July 22, 2011.

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