The killing of five people in Norway in a bow-and-arrow attack appears to be an “act of terror,” the Norwegian security service said Thursday, with the suspect, a Danish Muslim convert, already on their radar over fears he had been radicalised.
Four women and a man died and two others were injured on Wednesday in the south-eastern town of Kongsberg in Norway’s deadliest attack in a decade.
“We’re talking about a convert to Islam,” police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud told reporters on Thursday, adding: “There were fears linked to radicalisation previously.”
“We are investigating among other things to determine whether this was an act of terror,” Saeverud added.
“We’re relatively sure that he acted alone.”
It aslo said they didn’t believe the threat level in the country had changed, describing it as “moderate”.
Murder in Norway is rare.
Since then, Norway has seen one other far-right attack, carried out by a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who opened fire into a mosque.
On Thursday it was largely quiet in Kongsberg, a picturesque town of 25,000 people with wooden facades and the foliage changing colour for the autumn.
A few police officers stood outside a store where part of the attack took place. A glass door there was chipped by a shot.
The suspect was due to appear before a judge on Friday for a custody hearing.
The victims have not yet been named publicly, but one of the wounded was an off-duty police officer who had been in a store.
Police were informed of the attack at 6:13 pm (1613 GMT) and the suspect was arrested at 6:47 pm. He fired arrows at police, who responded with warning shots, Saeverud said.
“I thought it was Kabul,” he told AFP.
“I didn’t sleep much,” he added.
Images in the media showed a black arrow sticking out of a wall and what looked like competition-grade arrows lying on the ground.
“These events shake us,” said Prime Minister Erna Solberg, who stepped down Thursday, replaced by Jonas Gahr Store, whose Labour Party won recent parliamentary elections.
Norwegian police are not normally armed, but after the attack, the National Police Directorate ordered that officers be armed nationwide.
Breivik first set off a bomb in Oslo next to the building that housed the office of the prime minister, then went on a shooting spree at a summer camp for left-wing youth on the island of Utoya.
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