Mon. 9:16 a.m.: Norway has had ‘vague’ tip on mosque shooter
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — The head of Norway’s domestic security agency says officials had received a “vague” tip a year ago about the suspected gunman in Saturday’s Oslo mosque shooting, but it was not sufficient to act because officials had no information about any “concrete plans” of attack.
Hans Sverre Sjoevold told a news conference today that the agency receives many tips from worried people every day and the information “didn’t go in the direction of an imminent terror planning.”
He added there was no reason to change the overall threat assessment for Norway.
A suspected gunman was arrested Saturday after he entered an Oslo mosque waving weapons. Police said several shots were fired and one person was slightly injured, but the suspect was held down by others in the mosque. The suspect has also been tied to the slaying of his stepsister. During a court today, his defense lawyer said he “will use his right not to explain himself for now.”
Unni Fries declined to comment on Norwegian media reports that the suspect was inspired by shootings in New Zealand, where a gunman killed 51 people in March, and on Aug. 3 in El Paso, Texas, which left at least 22 dead.
Police raided the suspect’s nearby house and found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister.
The suspect smiled as he appeared in court today with two black eyes and bruises on his face. Police had said that he was prepared to cause deaths and more injuries but didn’t succeed because people inside the mosque helped neutralize him.
The suspect has not been identified by officials but Norwegian media reported he was a 21-year-old Norwegian man named Philip Manshaus. Dagbladet, one of Norway largest newspapers, reported that on day of the attack, Manshaus wrote online he had been “chosen” by “Saint (Brenton) Tarrant”, the Christchurch gunman.
The name of the Oslo mosque is similar to the one in the New Zealand attacks.
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.