Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 28 November 2020

Norway mosque shooting being investigated as act of terrorism

Young male Norwegian suspect expressed far-right, anti-immigrant views online, police say

A shooting at a mosque in Norway will be investigated as a possible act of terrorism, Norwegian police said on Sunday.

No one was injured in the attack by a lone gunman at the Al Noor Islamic Centre near the capital, Oslo, on Saturday. The attacker fired several shots before being overpowered by a person in the mosque and taken into custody by the police.

Police said he was a young, white Norwegian citizen from the area and had been carrying several guns. The body of young woman related to the man was found later at his house.

Norway's assistant chief of police Rune Skjold said on Sunday that the suspect had expressed far-right, anti-immigrant views online.

"We're investigating this as an attempt at carrying out an act of terrorism," he said.

Police on Sunday also identified the dead woman as the shooter's 17-year-old stepsister.

Only three people were in the mosque at the time of the attack, preparing for Sunday's celebration of the Eid Al Adha festival, mosque spokesman Waheed Ahmed told Reuters.

Mohammad Rafiq, a 65-year-old retired Pakistani Air Force officer, was the first of the three to approach the attacker.

"I suddenly heard shooting from outside," Mr Rafiq told Reuters through an interpreter.

A man then entered the building with guns and pistols. "He started to fire towards the two other men," Mr Rafiq.

He said he grabbed the attacker, held him down and wrestled the weapons from him.

His eye red and one hand swollen, Mr Rafiq, who has lived in Norway for two and a half years, said he was still recovering from the attack.

"He put his finger inside my eye, up to here; full finger inside my eye," he added.

The mosque had implemented extra security measures after the massacre of more than 50 people at two New Zealand mosques by a right-wing extremist in March.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said police had increased security on Sunday as thousands of Muslims gathered at mosques for the Eid celebration.

While the government continuously tries to combat hate speech, more must still be done, she said.

"We are trying to combat this, but it's a challenge. I think it's a worldwide challenge in a sense."

In 2011, anti-Muslim neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people in Norway's worst peacetime atrocity, the majority of them teenagers at a youth camp.

Updated: August 11, 2019 08:59 PM

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