- An attack by an armed man on a Norwegian mosque will be investigated as a possible act of terrorism, police said on Sunday.
- Police said in a Sunday news conference that they were investigating the gunman, who they described as a young, white male carrying several guns, adding that he had expressed far-right, anti-immigrant views online.
- After the attack, police said a young woman found dead in the victim’s home was the gunman’s 17-year-old stepsister.
- Shots were fired, but there were no victims. Congregation members confronted the gunman and overpowered him.
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An attack by an armed man on a Norwegian mosque will be investigated as a possible act of terrorism, police said on Sunday.
The suspected shooter, who charged the al-Noor Islamic Centre near Oslo on Saturday, was a young, white male carrying several guns. He has not been named by authorities nor has the motive in the attack; he has been charged with murder and attempted murder.
Assistant Chief of Police Rune Kjold said at a news conference reported on my multiple outlets that the suspect expressed far-right, anti-immigrant views online, including praise for the Christchurch shooter, who killed more than 50 people at two Mosques in New Zealand, The New York Times reported. However, he does not appear to be part of a larger network.
“We’re investigating this as an attempt at carrying out an act of terrorism,” he said, according to Reuters.
Shots were fired in the attack, but nobody at the mosque was killed. The stifled attack was credited to the people inside the mosque who overpowered the gunman before police arrived.
“These people showed great courage,” Skjold added.
Mohammad Rafiq, a 65-year-old retired Pakistani Air Force officer, went to disarm the attacker, the mosque told Reuters, after hearing “shooting from outside” and seeing the armed young man enter the mosque.
There were only three men present in the mosque at the time, and “He started to fire towards the two other men,” Rafiq told Reuters. Rafiqu then seized the suspect, held him down, and disarmed him, sustaining an eye injury.
The attack took place one day before thousands of Muslims gathered at mosques for the Eid celebration, and the congregation targeted by the gunman expected up to 1,000 people to attend.
The incident comes nearly eight years after Norway’s deadliest peacetime attack, when anti-Muslim neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people at a camp.