‘Remember Breivik’s ideological context’

On the two-year anniversary of the 22/7 terror attacks, the leader of the Labour Party youth wing has said that Norway must not forget the ideological roots of Anders Behring Breivik's extremism by focusing only on the country's capacity to tackle terror attacks.

'Remember Breivik's ideological context'
Labour Party youth wing (AUF) leader Eskil Pedersen. File photo: Stian Lysberg Solum/Scanpix

Eskil Pedersen would like July 22nd to become an international day that marks the fight against racism and right-wing extremism, he told local media in the run-up to the anniversary of July 22nd, 2011, when 77 people lost their lives at the hands of homegrown terrorist Anders Behring Breivik. 

"I am sure that the political aspect of July 22nd will become more prominent in the future," he told the socialist Klassekampen newspaper. 

While he said it was natural for Norwegians to demand that their government make sure the police and the military are well-equipped to handle any future terror attack, he expressed regret that the political debate in Norway had not taken the issue of the ideological climate that inspired Breivik seriously. 

"July 22nd was a political attack. The terror act was an attack on a political party, and the reason fro that attack was the resistance to our politics which are for diversity and a multicultural society," Pedersen said. 

"That is why we must look at July 22nd in a political context."

Pedersen added that none of Norway's established political parties had done a good job tackling extremism or dealing with extreme opinions about immigrants and minorities.

"The gunman was a racist and an extremist, who spent years planning to stop the Labour Party youth wing's recruitment because of what we stand for in terms of anti-racism and diversity," he told Klassekampen.

"His views also exist in the wider world, they are shared by more people than just him. We can see it in comments fields, and we see it in Europe." 

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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.