OSLO, Norway – A mass shooting that left two people dead and 14 injured in the Norwegian capital Oslo late Friday is under investigation as a possible terrorist attack, police said.
A Norwegian citizen of Iranian descent was arrested, investigators told a news conference. They added that the suspect was known to the police, but not for major crimes.
The acting chief of Norway’s security service, Roger Berg, called the shooting an “extreme Islamic terror act”, adding that the suspect had “a long history of violence and threats”.
He said the man was arrested shortly after the shooting at the London Pub, a nightclub and bar popular with the city’s LGBTQ community and the streets around it.
Authorities in the Scandinavian country have raised the terror alert to the highest level.
Police attorney Christian Hatlo said the suspect was being held on charges of murder, attempted murder and terrorism, based on the number of people targeted in multiple locations. The suspect’s mental health was also examined.
“Our overall assessment is that there are reasons to believe that he intended to seriously terrorize the population,” Hatlo said on Saturday.
A handgun and an automatic weapon were seized in the shooting, police said.
Eyewitness Olav Roenneberg told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK that he “saw a man with a bag approaching” before “grabbing a gun and shooting.”
“At first I thought it was an air pistol. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood that I had to take cover,” says journalist Roenneberg.
It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the attack or whether the shooting had anything to do with the Pride parade to be held hours later in Oslo.
However, the organizers canceled the parade on the advice of the police.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called the shooting “a cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people” in a Facebook after†
Photos published by the newspaper VG, broadcaster NRK and others showed a large gathering of emergency workers outside the London Pub, including police and ambulance personnel.
Helicopters hovered over central Oslo as sirens from ambulances and police cars sounded through the city.
Oslo University Hospital said it had gone on red alert after the shooting.
Norway is a relatively safe country but has suffered violent attacks by right-wing extremists, including one of the worst mass shootings in Europe in 2011, when a right-wing extremist killed 69 people on the island of Utoya after detonating a bomb in Oslo that eight people were killed.
In 2019, another right-wing extremist killed his stepsister and then opened fire at a mosque, but was overpowered before anyone was injured there.