Accused Norway gunman hoped to attack former PM
Norwegian man accused of killing...
The Norwegian man accused of killing more than 90 people in Friday`s bombing and shooting spree told police he had planned to attack former Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, the local Aftenposten newspaper said on Monday, according to RIA Novosti.
Police say that 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik is the only suspect in the car bombing in Oslo, which killed seven people, and the attack on the Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya in which at least 86 people were killed.
Brundtland, Norway`s Prime Minister for the Labor Party for three terms between 1981 and 1996 and the head of World Health Organization between 1998 and 2003, left the island shortly before Breivik arrived, Aftenposten reported.
Breivik said he was planning to arrive at the island earlier, but was late for unspecified reasons, the newspaper said, quoting unidentified sources.
A stepbrother of Norway`s Crown Princess Mette Marit, policeman Trond Berntsen, was one of the victims shot dead by the gunman, who fired at random during his attack, Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet said. The policeman, who was reported missing following the shooting, became one of the gunman`s first victims when he tried to stop him, the paper said.
Breivik will appear in court later on Monday on terrorism charges over the shooting and the car bombing of a government headquarters in downtown Oslo, which took place hours before the Utoya massacre.
The explosion in Oslo rocked the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was absent at the time.
Media report that Breivik`s lawyer said he has admitted to the killings, but he has not accepted criminal responsibility for them.
Police have requested that the hearing is held behind the closed doors to prevent media from spreading the suspect`s extremist ideology.
The suspected terrorist faces up to 21 years in prison if found guilty. The maximum prison term allowed under Norwegian law can be extended, however, if the individual is considered a threat to society.
Hours before Friday`s shooting spree, Breivik posted a 1,500-page "manifesto" and a video on the internet exposing his anti-Muslim views and calling for a "conservative revolution" against multiculturalism, which is described in his writings as a "threat to Western civilization."
The English Defense League (EDL), a far-right street protest movement that opposes what it perceives as the spread of Islamism, Sharia law and Islamic extremism in England, has denied that Brievik had any links to their group and that it vehemently opposes his actions.
“Terrorism and extremism of any kind is never acceptable and we pride ourselves on opposing these,” the EDL said in an official statement posted on its website.
The statement came in response to “some uneducated members of the media” who have been all too quick “to link the English Defense League to this murderous creature, quoting from his blog that ‘on some occasions [he] had discussions with EDL and recommended them to use certain strategies (via facebook)’.”
The EDL said there has never been any official contact between him and the EDL.
“Our facebook page had 100,000 supporters and receives tens of thousands of comments each day. And there is no evidence that Brievik was ever one of those 100,000 supporters,” it said.
“The accusation that the EDL could have anything to do with this horrible event, is libelous and incorrect in every way possible. We strongly oppose extremism and always reject any suggestion of us being either extremists or far-right, due to our great past record of dealing with anyone who holds such extremist views.”
In Britain, the EDL still see “the most credible threat of terrorism and source of mass murder remaining with Islamic extremists.”
The tragic events in Norway are “an alarming eye opener as to what could happen within our own shores if we are not careful and don’t clamp down on groups and individuals that express extremist beliefs,” it said. “Be it Islamic or Far-Right extremist views.”