Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 30 October 2020

Suspected Norway mosque shooter appears in court with bruised face

Local media claim he was motivated by the Christchurch mosque massacre

Philip Manshaus is accused of an attempted terrorist attack. AFP
Philip Manshaus is accused of an attempted terrorist attack. AFP

A man accused of opening fire inside a Norwegian mosque after murdering his stepsister appeared in court on Monday on terror charges with black eyes and wounds on his face and neck.

The gunman, named in local media as Philip Manshaus, 21, is to remain silent and "will use his right not to explain himself for now,” his defence lawyer said. Manshaus briefly smiled at photographers as he sat down in court.

He is accused of entering Al Noor Islamic Centre in Oslo armed with at least two weapons and opening fire before being overpowered by a 65-year-old man who suffered minor injuries.

Mohammad Rafiq, a retired Pakistani Air Force officer who was preparing for Sunday’s Eid Al Adha, has been named as one those who took down the assailant.

Police raided the suspect’s house and found the body of his stepsister, 17. Authorities said he was prepared to cause more deaths and injuries but did not succeed because of the actions of the people inside the mosque.

The head of Norway's domestic security agency said a "vague" tip was received a year ago about the suspect, but it was found not sufficient enough to act on because officials had no information about any "concrete plans" of attack.

Hans Sverre Sjoevold told a news conference that his agency and the police receive numerous tips from anxious people on a daily basis and the intelligence "didn't go in the direction of an imminent terror planning".

Defence lawyer Unni Fries declined to comment on reports that Manshaus was inspired by recent mass shootings such as a March attack on a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand that killed 51 people.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet reported that on the day of the attack, Manshaus wrote online he had been "chosen" by "Saint (Brenton) Tarrant", the Christchurch gunman.

The police said the investigation is still in an early phase and the suspect has not made any statements.

Prosecutors want him held on terror charges for four weeks. Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the attempted attack a "direct attack on Norwegian Muslims".

The suspect's thwarted plans recall those of the Norwegian right-wing extremist who in 2011 killed 77 people in 2011. Anders Behring Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence for carrying out a terror attack.

Updated: August 12, 2019 06:02 PM

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