Breivik’s target wishlist: from Obama to royals

Anders Behring Breivik, who goes on trial on Monday for killing 77 people in twin attacks in Norway last year, had a long wishlist of targets and methods that he considered in the years he spent plotting his massacre.

Breivik's target wishlist: from Obama to royals
Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama meets Crown Princess Mette-Marit in Oslo, 2009 (Photo: Bjørn Sigurdsøn/Scanpix)

Barack Obama: Breivik told police that the US president, who was in Oslo in December 2009 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, would have been an ideal target, daily Dagbladet reported quoting leaks from the police interrogation.

He wanted to place a car bomb near the president's convoy, an attack he considered highly symbolic and one which would have a major media impact. He abandoned the idea, figuring his chances of succeeding in killing Obama were limited.

"Jihadi"-style executions: Breivik also planned to capture senior Norwegian politicians on Utøya island and film their executions as a text was read, daily Verdens Gang reported, also quoting leaks from the police interrogation. The targets included Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, ex-prime minister and icon of the Labour Party Gro Harlem Brundtland, and the head of the Labour Party's youth movement Eskil Pedersen. Breivik abandoned the idea after realising it would take too long to upload the video footage to the internet.

Other targets: Both police and Breivik's defence lawyers have confirmed that he had other targets in mind but have not disclosed the people or institutions by name. According to media reports, he wanted to attack the Norwegian royal palace because he considered it ugly and because Crown Princess Mette-Marit has defended the cause of asylum seekers. He also reportedly wanted to attack parliament, the foreign ministry, Labour Party headquarters, media organisations and concert halls.

During his trial, Breivik "will not only defend (his actions) but will also lament, I think, not going further," his lawyer Geir Lippestad has said.

Two court-ordered psychiatric evaluations have drawn contradictory conclusions about whether he is sane, and judges will ultimately decide if he can be held criminally responsible for his acts.

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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.