‘Islamist terror’ suspect arrested in deadly Oslo attack

The Norwegian Royal Family and the Prime minister lay down flowers at the site of shootings near a gay bar in the capital Oslo that left two dead and 21 wounded. IMAGES

Norwegian police have arrested a man suspected of “Islamist terrorism” after two people were killed and 21 wounded in shootings near a gay bar in Oslo on Saturday, causing the city’s Pride march to be cancelled.

But despite the official march being called off, thousands spontaneously gathered to march through the Norwegian capital in a display of unity also seen at Pride marches across Europe.

Norway’s domestic intelligence service PST, which is responsible for counter-terrorism, said it was treating the attack as “an act of Islamist terrorism”.

The suspect had been on the PST’s radar “since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalisation” and membership “in an Islamist extremist network”, Berg told a news conference.

He added that the PST was also aware the suspect had “difficulties with his mental health”.

The suspect has so far refused to be interviewed by investigators.

Norwegian media named him as Zaniar Matapour, describing him as a father of Iranian Kurdish origin who arrived in Norway as a child.

Police said they received the first reports at 1:14 am and the suspect was arrested just five minutes later, thanks to the “heroic contribution” of bystanders.

Organisers of the Pride march due to take place on Saturday afternoon called it off, saying they were following “clear” recommendations from the police.

Those who did march on Saturday could be heard shouting: “We’re here, we’re queer, we won’t disappear.”

Many people, some in tears, laid rainbow flags and flowers near the scene of the attack, which was cordoned off by police.

Norway’s Crown Princess Mette-Marit struggled to hold back her tears when she went to the scene, which was also visited by Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store and other politicians.

The shootings happened near the London Pub gay club, the Herr Nilsen jazz club and a takeaway food outlet in a central area packed with people on a warm summer night.

Norway’s intelligence services raised the country’s threat level from moderate to “extraordinary”.

The attack led to enhanced security for Pride marches taking place across France on Saturday, the French government said.

French President Emmanuel Macron and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen were among the world leaders who condemned the attack.

Norway’s premier Store said: “Today was supposed to be a day to celebrate love and brighten our streets in the colours of the rainbow.”

Norway’s King Harald V said in a statement that he was “horrified”.

Generally peaceful Norway was the scene of bloody attacks on July 22, 2011, when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people.

Originally published as ‘Islamist terror’ suspect arrested in deadly Oslo attack


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