Officials have a suspect in custody in Friday’s bomb attack in Oslo, Norway, and a murderous youth camp rampage 50 miles away.
Seven have been confirmed killed in the Oslo blast, and reports are unconfirmed of as many as 80 killed in the summer camp shooting.
Both the bombing and the shootings may have been an unsuccessful assassination attempt on Norway’s Prime Minister.
Though police did not release the suspect’s name, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK said 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik was in police custody and that police had searched his Oslo apartment overnight. NRK and other Norwegian media posted pictures of the blond, blue-eyed Norwegian. One of the photos shows the suspect in a tuxedo and Masonic Lodge apron.
The Associated Press said the suspect was a “Christian,” apparently based on what was believed to be his Facebook profile, on which he had selected “Christian” as his religion.
News media broadcast chilling video interviews with some of the children who hid in fear as the killer, dressed in a police uniform, tried to lure them to him, according to the internet news site, The Blaze.
A police official said the suspect appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that “it seems like that this is not linked to any international terrorist organizations at all.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway’s police.
“It seems it’s not Islamic-terror related,” the official said. “This seems like a madman’s work.”
The official said the attack “is probably more Norway‘s Oklahoma City than it is Norway’s World Trade Center.” Domestic terrorists carried out the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City, while foreign terrorists were responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks.
London’s Daily Mail newspaper reported the suspect was “blond, 6-foot and Nordic-looking” and that an obscure Islamist group calling itself Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or “The Helpers of the Global Jihad” claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming it was in retaliation for the publication in Norway of controversial cartoons lampooning the prophet Mohammad. According to the New York Times, the group issued a statement claiming responsibility in a message that said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad.
The British news service Reuters reported that in a message posted on the password-protected Shumukh al-Islam forum, Abu Suleiman al-Nasser said the Oslo bombings are “another message arriving in the countries of Europe from the mujahideen (holy warriors).” Al-Nasser has made several threats to European countries participating in the war in Afghanistan. Another posting by a participant called Emir Grozny said: “Threat against the Prime Minister of Norway. You have only moments to withdraw your soldiers from the grave of Khurasan and if not… you will see blood running in the streets.” “The grave of Khurasan” refers to Afghanistan.
“We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,” the group said, apparently referring to a 201 bombing in Sweden. “What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.”
It is not uncommon for shadowy groups to claim responsibility for terrorist actions in which they have no involvement.
Police tied the arrested suspect to both the bombing and the summer camp shootings. They noted that Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg may have been scheduled to speak at the camp. The bomb blast in Oslo, Norway’s capital where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, left windows in the 20-floor high-rise where Stoltenberg works were shattered.