Witnesses relive Breivik's pitiless murders

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17:48 CEST+02:00
Anders Behring Breivik, who is on trial for killing 77 people in Norway last year, mercilessly murdered youths on Utøya island, ignoring their pleas for him to spare their lives, witnesses testified Thursday.

On the 16th day of the self-confessed killer's trial, the Oslo district court heard heart-wrenching testimony from young people who saw their friends fall under the hail of Breivik's bullets last July 22nd.

The right-wing extremist first bombed a government building in Oslo, killing eight people, before going to Utøya island, where he opened fire on a summer camp organized by the ruling Labour Party's youth movement.

Sixty-nine people perished in the island massacre, most of them teenagers.

Lars Henrik Rytter Øberg, an 18-year-old high school student, told the court how -- from the icy waters he had thrown himself into to escape the bullets -- he had seen Breivik walk towards a boy who was trying to protect his head with his arms and had shot him.

"His face was marble," said the young man, who had come to court wearing the traditional red trousers worn by students before during the festivities leading up to their final high school exams.

"He seemed very calm," Rytter Øberg added.

Breivik's defence is eager to prove that was the case, seeking to contradict a picture presented to the court by a witness Wednesday who recalled the now 33-year-old Breivik shouting out with joy as he shot his victims.

Another witness, Mohammed Abdulrahman, described how the gunman had shot a young girl with his rifle shortly after arriving on the island and then finished her off with a follow-up shot as she lay on the ground.

"It looked like he kicked her (to see if she was alive). He took out another weapon and and he shot her from a distance of about 10 centimetres," the young man of Iraqi origin said.

Abdulrahman described how he had later seen Breivik shoot three other youths at point blank range.

"I heard one who said: 'Please don't shoot'," recalled Abdulrahman, who also threw himself in the cold water to escape the bullets.

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At the end of the hearing, marked by sobs from survivors and family members gathered in court, Breivik spoke up, insisting he had never been in physical contact with any of his Utøya victims except a security guard who had shaken his hand when he got off the ferry.

Breivik has been charged with committing terrorist acts when he first bombed a government building in Oslo on July 22nd, killing eight people, before heading out to Utøya.

He has confessed to killing the 77 people who died that day but has refused to plead guilty, insisting the attacks were "cruel but necessary" to stop the Labour Party's "multicultural experiment" and the "Muslim invasion" of Norway and Europe.

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