Wednesday. 29.03.2023

Norwegian attack suspect recently converted to Islam

Four of the dead were women

13 October 2021, Norway, Kongsberg: Police officers investigate the center of Kongsberg after a violent crime. Several people were killed and injured during a violent armed attack in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday, according to the police. Photo: Hakon Mosvold Larsen/NTB/dpa
Police officers investigate the center of Kongsberg after a violent crime. Photo: Hakon Mosvold Larsen/dpa.

There were growing indications that an attack that left five people dead and two injured in a small Norwegian town may have had terrorist motives.

Norwegian police said on Thursday there were signs that the suspect in a deadly bow and arrow attack had become radicalized after recently converting to Islam.

The 37-year-old Danish man is suspected of attacking numerous people with several weapons, including a bow and arrow, in the southern town of Kongsberg on Wednesday night.

Five people were killed and two injured, all between the ages of 50 and 70, police said.

Four of the dead were women, one was a man. Of the two who were injured, one was a police officer shopping in a supermarket.

Police received the first report of a the assailant moving through the city with a bow and arrow at 6:13 pm on Wednesday.

A police patrol spotted him five minutes later but he fired arrows towards the officers and initially managed to flee.

It is likely the victims were killed shortly afterwards, according to police spokesperson Ole Bredrup Saverud.

Officers detained the suspect half an hour after they had received the first emergency call, the police said.

The suspect is thought to have acted alone.

He is a resident of the town of Kongsberg in southern Norway, police said.

He is now in custody and spoke to police during an overnight interrogation. He is ready to cooperate further with investigators, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Admitted the acts

A prosecutor told broadcaster TV2 that the man had admitted to the acts and that he had previously been known to police. She said he had been in contact with the Norwegian health service on several occasions. It was unclear from her statements whether the suspect had been treated for mental health problems.

The attacks took place in several locations in central Kongsberg. On Thursday, the centre was largely cordoned off.

Bows and arrows are considered sports equipment rather than weapons in Norway and can be bought freely, although they may not be used for hunting.

The incident occurred on the eve of the inauguration of the new Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who said he was shocked. "What we have had to hear from Kongsberg this evening testifies to the fact that a cruel and brutal act has been committed," he told NTB news agency late on Wednesday.

Outgoing Conservative prime minister Erna Solberg expressed her sympathies. "Our thoughts go out first and foremost to those affected and their families," she said.

The attack did not affect the change in government. Store, the head of the Labour Party, took office on Thursday morning. He will head a minority government with the Centre Party.

In neighbouring Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven tweeted that his thoughts were with the victims and their families, calling the incident a "terrible attack."

The killings come 10 years after the country's worst terrorist attack, when 77 people were murdered by a right-wing extremist.

On July 22, 2011, Anders Behring Breivik detonated a car bomb in Oslo, killing eight people, before driving to the island of Utoya, where he opened fire on attendees of the annual summer camp held by the Labour party's youth organization, killing 69 people, mostly teenagers and young adults.

Norwegian attack suspect recently converted to Islam