Norway attack suspect was flagged for radicalization
Oslo, Oct 14: The 37-year-old Danish man arrested over the slaying of five in the Norwegian city of Konigsberg was a recent convert to Islam, police said Thursday.
Police chief Ole Bredrup Saeverud said, "There earlier had been worries of the man having been radicalized."
The victims included four women and one man between the ages of 50 and 70, police said.
The suspect was interrogated overnight and has cooperated with authorities who said he confessed.
Police believe he acted alone. Norwegian news agency NTB also reported, citing police sources, that he had used other weapons.
A prosecutor said earlier that he was known to Norway's health services as well.
What happened in Konigsberg Wednesday?
A man wielding a bow and arrow killed five people and wounded two others in the southeastern Norwegian town of Kongsberg on Wednesday, authorities said.
The Aftenposten newspaper cited police who said the attacks continued for over 30 minutes across a "large area" of Kongsberg, including at a Coop Extra grocery store.
Police were alerted at around 6:30 p.m. local time and arrested the suspect about 20 minutes later.
What do we know so far?
The two people wounded, which included an off-duty police officer, were being treated at a hospital. A police spokesperson told reporters the suspect has been taken into custody.
The motive behind the attack is still unclear though both the police prosecutor and the suspect's defense attorney say he has confessed during interrogation overnight.
Police said early Thursday said the suspect was a 37-year-old Danish man living in Kongsberg, countering earlier television reports alleging the attacker was a Norwegian man. Charges have been filed.
"We decided to confirm this information because many rumors were circulating on social networks about the perpetrator of the attack, some [implicating] people who have no connection with these serious acts," a police statement said.
Prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Matthiassen told Norwegian broadcaster TV2 that the suspect was known to police and had a medical history.
"He is admitting to the facts of the case," she told news agency NTB.
Police also said other weapons were involved in the attacks.
Authorities did not divulge details about the victims.
Too early to determine whether attack was terrorism
Police said it's too early to declare whether the attack was an act of terrorism pending an investigation.
Norway's intelligence service PST had been alerted, spokesman Martin Bernsen told AFP.
"It is all conjecture at the moment," he said when asked about the possibility of a terrorist motive.
Acting Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the attack as "gruesome," while Prime Minister-designate Jonas Gahr Stoere called it "a cruel and brutal act."
Parts of Kongsberg were reportedly evacuated in the wake of the violence, according to Norwegian media.
Dozens of helicopters and ambulances were dispatched to the scene. The two injured victims have been hospitalized and put into intensive care, with one of them being an off-duty police officer.
The Norwegian Police Directorate ordered officers to carry weapons following the attack. Police in the Scandinavian country are usually unarmed.
The criminal act comes a little over 10 years after right-wing extremist Anders Breivik carried out the worst terrorist attack in Norwegian history.
Breivik set off a bomb in Oslo and went on a shooting rampage on the island of Utoya in July 2011, killing 77 people in total.