Norway victims’ families visit slaughter site

The families of victims of Norway's July massacre on Saturday visited the island of Utøya where a right-wing extremist massacred 69 people, mainly youths, on July 22nd after killing eight people in central Oslo.

The trip, conducted under tight security and closed to the press who will be taken there on Monday, was difficult but cathartic, Health Minister Anne-Grete Strøm-Erichsen said, according to Norwegian news agency NTB.

"For some it was very difficult but I think that the majority found the answers by coming here: it was important for them to come," she said.

Police inspector John Stamnes added: "Some wanted to know as much as possible, the others were more reticent. But all of them wanted to see the place where a family member was killed or wounded."

The self-confessed perpetrator, Anders Behring Breivik, is being held in solitary confinement.

In a manifesto he published on the Internet just before the attacks, Behring Breivik professed his hatred for Western-style democracy, saying it had spawned the multicultural society he loathed.

At the time of the attack, the ruling Labour Party's youth wing was hosting a summer camp on the picture postcard island near Oslo.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.