Norway treating mosque shooting as 'attempted act of terror'

Norway mosque shooting probed as terror act

Police investigating a 21-year-old man suspected of an attempted attack in a Norwegian mosque and of killing his stepsister ignored a "vague" tip off a year ago.

Eyewitnesses said Manshaus entered the al-Noor Islamic Centre with several guns, but was overpowered by a 65-year-old member of the mosque, who managed to wrestle away his weapons in the fight that followed.

The suspect, who has not revealed his motives to police, also recently wrote in an online forum that the gunman who killed more than 50 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, was "a saint", and wrote: "It's been fun".

Oslo Deputy Police Inspector Rune Skjold said during a news conference Sunday that mosque shooting was being treated as an attempted terror attack in part because the investigation uncovered evidence of the man's "right-wing extremist views" and alleged animosity toward immigrants.

After the shooting, police went to his residence and said they found his 17-year-old sister dead.

The man identified by media as 21-year old Philip Manshaus is formally suspected of murder in the death of his 17-year-old stepsister and of a "terrorist act" at the Al Noor mosque on Saturday, police said in a statement.

Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg and Mohammad Rafiq (L), who stopped the attacker at a mosque on Saturday, are seen outside Thon Oslofjord hotel in Sandvika, Norway, August 11, 2019.

Speaking to press outside a nearby hotel on Sunday, Mr Rafiq, who was preparing to celebrate the Islamic festival of Eid al-Adha, said: 'I'm thankful for all of the help and support I have received'.

He told Reuters news agency: "I suddenly heard shouting from outside".

Police sought to hold him on suspicion of murder, as well as of breaching anti-terrorism law by spreading severe fear among the population when firing several guns at the mosque.

"He has not admitted criminal charges", his lawyer Unni Fries told reporters. "He started to fire towards the two other men", Rafiq told Reuters.

The gunman injured one worshipper before being arrested, police and witnesses said.

Oslo police increased security around Sunday's celebrations, including ordering their patrols to be armed, which is generally not the case.

"We are trying to combat this, but it's a challenge".

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.

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