Suspect wanted to ‘change Norwegian society’

Death toll rises to 93 in attacks that lawyer says Anders Breivik undertook as a “warning” to Labour Party.

Anders Breivik, the man who has confessed to a bombing and shooting spree in Norway that left at least 93 people dead, intended to “radically change Norwegian society” with his attacks, his defence lawyer has said.

Breivik, who is alleged to have carried out the attacks over several hours on Friday, wanted to give a “warning” to the ruling Labour Party that “doomsday would be imminent,” said Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s lawyer, in an interview with the Verdens Gang newspaper published on Sunday.

Breivik has been arrested under Norway’s terrorism laws and will likely face a maximum sentence of 21 years in prison when he is formally charged on Monday.

In a radio interview with the public broadcaster NRK later, Lippestad said that Breivik belongs to an international network of right-wing extremists and would like his hearing on Monday to be open to the media so he can “reveal all”.

Breivik had planned his actions for a “long time,” Lippestad said.

Police made two raids in Oslo on Sunday afternoon that they said were in connection with the attacks. One took place in Slette Lokke, in the east of the capital, while the other was in Rodvet, in the north. Several people were arrested and then released, according to reports.

A man believed to be Breivik is seen standing among bodies on Utoya island. [REUTERS]

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was joined by King Harald V, Queen Sonja and other dignitaries at a memorial service in Oslo Cathedral on Sunday.

Under interrogation by police, Breivik admitted to both the bombing in Oslo, which killed seven people including two members of Norway’s government, and a subsequent shooting spree on the nearby island of Utoya.

The island attack targeted a youth summer camp for the Labour Party and left at least 85 people dead.

“He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary,” Lippestad said.

It was the deadliest act of violence in the normally peaceful country since World War II.

On Sunday, Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim told reporters that Breivik claimed to have acted alone and is co-operating with their investigation.

Police are still working to confirm whether Breivik had accomplices, he said.

Some witnesses have said they saw a second man participate in the Utoya shooting.

Lippestad told Verden Gangs that Breivik appeared “calm and balanced” during his 10-hour interrogation on Saturday.

Breivik surrendered to a squad of Norway’s special forces police, known as Delta, when they reached the island around 90 minutes after the shooting began, Lippestad said. There was no ammunition left in Breivik’s weapon, the lawyer said.

Police investigation continues

Police released few additional details about Breivik’s tactics or motives. Sponheim declined to say what kind of weapons had been used or how Breivik reached the island, though some witnesses said he used a regular ferry to cross the fjord from the mainland.

Oslo Police Chief of Staff Johan Fredriksen said that the bomb planted in central Oslo had caused an “incredibly powerful” explosion and that it was difficult to tell how it was built or activated.

Police searched an apartment in an Oslo suburb on Friday, which neighbours said belonged to Breivik’s mother.

A photograph, apparently of Breivik, posted on a Facebook page under his name

“It is the mother who lives there. She is a very polite lady, pleasant and very friendly,” said Hemet Noaman, 27, an accounting consultant who lives in the same building in a wealthy part of town.

“He often came to visit his mother but did not live here.”

Breivik bought six tonnes of fertiliser recently, according to a local supplier, and it was reported that he had opened and registered his own farm to make such a large purchase legal.
Ammonium nitrate in fertiliser has been used to make powerful bombs, including the one that leveled a federal government building in the United States in 1995.

Many analysts have drawn a parallel between that bombing, commited in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, by a right-wing, anti-government radical, and Breivik’s attack.

Oslo Deputy Police Chief Roger Andresen said Breivik “has never been under surveillance and he has never been arrested”.

Changing politics ‘through violence’

Norway’s royal family and prime minister led the nation in mourning on Saturday, visiting grieving relatives of the scores of youth who were gunned down at the island retreat.

“This is beyond comprehension. It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends,” Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters.

Though the prime minister cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the gunman’s motives, a video slideshow and 1,500-page manifesto allegedly produced by Breivik had begun circulating on the internet by Sunday.

Police said they were “trawling” through the manuscript but continued to decline to comment on Breivik’s motivations.

Mourners gathered outside the Oslo Cathedral on Saturday in front of flowers and candles [AFP]

The youth camp, about 20km northwest of Oslo, is organised by the party’s youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there on Saturday.

Lippestad told Verdens Gang that Breivik wanted to change Norwegian politics through violence.

“He wanted to hurt the Labour Party and halt its recruitment in the worst possible way, referring to the party members as Marxist,” he told the newspaper. 

Breivik is reported to have belonged to right-wing political groups and to have had a negative view of multiculturalism and the flow of immigrants into Europe, particularly those coming from Muslim countries.

Officials have declined to discuss Breivik’s motive other than describing him as “right wing” and a “Christian fundamentalist”.

Reports suggest he belonged to an anti-immigration party, wrote blogs attacking multiculturalism and was a member of a neo-Nazi online forum.

Norwegian authorities said Breivik was previously unknown to them and that his internet activity traced so far included no calls to violence.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies