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TERRORISM

‘Are you crazy? Why should I blow myself up?’

The 19-year-old Oslo woman hunted by international police on suspicion of planning a suicide attack has vigorously denied any such plans, telling Norway’s TV2 that she had been planning to come back to Norway.

'Are you crazy? Why should I blow myself up?'
The woman's face on TV2 yesterday: Screen grab from TV2
“Are you crazy?” she told reporters asked her whether she was planning an attack. “I am a Muslim. Islam does not allow it.” 
 
She told reporters that she was staying in Turkey with her new husband and studying Arabic, and had been planning to return to Norway. 
 
“It is so ridiculous. Why should I blow myself up?” she told reporters. “I’m sorry, but I just had to laugh when I heard that.” 
 
Norway’s Police Security Service (PST) has put out an ‘orange notice’ about the woman on Interpol, the organisation facilitating international police cooperation, saying it had received a tip-off she might be planning an attack. 
 
“I'm married. I'm not in Norway and I do not intend to carry any kind of terrorist attacks,” she told TV2. “I have not been in Syria and that is what is so funny. Syria and blow myself up… It's just nonsense.” 
 
She claimed that she was the victim of rumours spread by people back in Oslo who wanted to cause problems for her. 
 
Friends of the woman largely backed up her claims. 
 
“She changed for around two years ago. She went from liking to party with friends to practicing Islam more and more,” one friend told TV2. “But I've never heard that she wanted to hurt  anyone. She is a very nice girl: kind and always positive. I do not think that she is in Syria.”

TERRORISM

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.

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