Norway mosque attack suspect does Nazi salute in court

Philip Manshaus, 22, faces terror and murder charges following a shooting at a mosque in Norway ahead of Eid

epa07829709 Norwegian suspect Philip Manshaus makes the Nazi salute as he appears at the Oslo District Court for a hearing, in Oslo, Norway, 09 August 2019. Norwegian Philip Manshaus, 22-year-old, who is accused of an attempted terrorist attack in connection with a gun attack on an Oslo mosque in August 2019, appeared on the day at court regarding his imprisonment conditions. He is also charged with the murder of his 17-year-old half-sister, whose body was found on same day as the shooting.  EPA/HEIKO JUNGE  NORWAY OUT
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A man accused of an attempted terror attack at a mosque ahead of Eid has performed a Nazi salute during his court appearance.

Philip Manshaus, 22, is accused of an attempted terrorist attack near Oslo in August and is being held on suspicion of murder and breaching anti-terror laws.

During a court appearance on Monday, Mr Manshaus did a Nazi salute.

He is accused of shooting at people inside a Norwegian mosque on Saturday, August 10, and is being investigated over the killing of his 17-year-old step-sister.

He allegedly stormed the mosque with guns, firing several shots, before he was overpowered by worshippers.

One person was injured in the incident.

His defence lawyer, Unni Fries has said he is "not admitting any guilt" and said the incident was "self defence and the defence of others".

His lawyer said he had told the court "this [the incidents} was something he had to do, that it was necessary and something he felt he had a responsibility to carry out.”

The court granted a request by prosecutors to continue to remand him into custody.

Mr Manshaus is alleged to have entered the Al Noor Islamic centre in Bærum, near Oslo, with several guns.

A 65-year-old man overpowered the attacker and wrestled his weapons from him.

A few hours after the mosque attack, police discovered the body of a young woman at what they said was the suspect’s address.

Police later said she was his stepsister Johanne Zhangia Ihle-Hansen, who was adopted as a child from China.

Her funeral last week was  attended by both Justice Minister Jøran Kallmyr and philosopher Henrik Syse, a member of the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize but who also was a longtime friend of Mr Manshaus’ father, according to local newspaper reports.

Police said he lived near the mosque and had previously expressed far right views.

Norway's assistant chief of police Rune Skjold said 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.

Online postings under Mr Manshaus’s name, made shortly before the attack, allegedly praised the Christchurch massacre.

It is believed the attack may have been inspired by the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand which killed 51 people in March.

The mosque had recently implemented extra security measures after the Christchurch massacre.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said police had increased security ahead of the celebrations.

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

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

Last week Norway's police security service, PST, issued a warning about the possibility of a terror attack from rightwing extremists “in the coming year”.

In a statement, the PST said its heightened threat warning has stemmed from the fact that several Norwegian rightwing extremists had recently expressed support for the perpetrators behind attacks in New Zealand, the US and the failed attack in the Norwegian capital Oslo last month.

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.