Police in Norway have arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a man who they described as a right-wing fundamentalist Christian, in the mass killing of at least 92 people with a car bomb and a killing spree at a youth camp.
Breivik is seen as “right-wing” and “anti-Muslim” based on views he expressed online, but seems to have no known links to Norway’s underground neo-Nazi fringe. His Twitter page is free of any hate speech. That may be in part because Breivik sent his first and only tweet barely a week ago, on July 17. It ominously reads: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.”
The Times reported that “a portrait began to emerge of the main suspect in the case as a gun-loving Norwegian obsessed with what he saw as the threat of multiculturalism and Muslim immigration.”
According to a government spokesman, seven people were killed and at least fifteen injured by the car bomb in Oslo. Shortly thereafter, at youth Labor Party camp on an island 25 miles outside Oslo, a gunman dressed as a policeman opened fire on the group of mostly teenagers, reportedly while the kids assembled to watch the bombings on television. Police now confirm at least 85 dead in the shooting.
The Times: “Even after many made it into the water, the gunman calmly and methodically shot at those who were swimming. ”
A witness told Reuters: that the killer, dressed as a policeman, “would tell people to come over: ‘It’s OK, you’re safe, we’re coming to help you.’ And then I saw about 20 people come toward him and he shot them at close range.” Reuters also reported that “the bloodbath was believed to be the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times.”
In Oslo, police shut down the area surrounding the bomb’s targets, while a fire raged in the Oil Ministry building, sending plumes of smoke into the air above the city. Train travel from Oslo airport was suspended following reports of “suspicious boxes,” and the city’s bars and restaurants closed for the night. The prime minister, whose offices were among the government buildings hit, is safe. Casualties appear to be lower than they might have been if the attack hadn’t occurred this week, when many Norwegians are on vacation.
After initial predictions that the bombing had been carried out by an Al Qaeda affiliated group in retaliation for Norway’s military participation in Afghanistan, or perhaps by an alienated Muslim immigrant, Norway is now facing the reality of a home-grown terrorist attack that bears some similarity to the Oklahoma City bombing.
Below, footage of the bomb’s aftermath.