UPDATED: Norwegian police arrest gunman after stolen Oslo ambulance driven into pedestrians

Norwegian police arrested an armed man who, according to media reports, went on the rampage in Oslo on Tuesday in a stolen ambulance, running down pedestrians including twin babies in a pram.

UPDATED: Norwegian police arrest gunman after stolen Oslo ambulance driven into pedestrians
Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB Scanpix / AFP

The armed man took control of an ambulance before running over several people and a stroller in the Torshov area on Tuesday afternoon. One man has been arrested and police are looking for a woman, national broadcaster NRK reports.

Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB Scanpix / AFP

“We have taken control of an ambulance that was stolen by an armed man,” Oslo police said on Twitter.

“Shots were fired to arrest the suspect, he is not seriously injured,” they added.

“We have no information for now indicating that this is terror-related,” Oslo police later tweeted.

According to the TV2 channel, the arrested man is in his 30s and the woman being sought is in her 20s. Both are Norwegian nationals and known previously to the police.

“A woman with a pram and an elderly couple were run over or had to throw themselves out of the way” of the stolen vehicle, police added in another Twitter post.

The ambulance was on the Åsengata street when the suspect took it before driving at pedestrians.

Oslo University Hospital has confirmed to NRK that seven-month-old twins in a double pram were taken to hospital. One was mildly hurt, while the other's condition is currently unknown.

Television images showed an overturned pram lying by an upturned traffic sign.

According to TV2, the arrested man was in his 30s.

Police shot at the tyres of the ambulance and the driver fired back, witnesses told NRK.

Police had been pursuing the ambulance when it crashed into a gate outside a residential building.

Television images showed a damaged Mercedes ambulance with what appeared to be several bullet holes in the front left door.

The incident took place in a residential neighbourhood in northern Oslo. Students at a nearby school and daycare centre were ordered to remain indoors.

A large number of police officers, some of them heavily armed, were deployed at the scene and a helicopter was also dispatched.

The suspect's motive was not immediately known, police said.

Police tweeted that they are looking for a woman described as “light-skinned, 165cm (tall), wavy brown hair, wearing black jacket, looks intoxicated. The woman was last seen near Rosenhoff. If seen, contact police immediately on 02800”.

Norway has experienced several terrorist attacks by rightwing extremists, including the July 2011 twin attacks by Anders Behring Breivik that left 77 people dead.

There have however been no attacks carried out by Islamist extremists on Norwegian soil.

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Norwegian police end emergency carrying of arms

The temporary arming of all police in Norway, ordered after an attack in Kongsberg left five dead, ended on Friday morning. 

Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo.
Police in Norway will no longer be armed after the temporary order was dropped. Pictured is a police van in Oslo. Photo by David Hall on Flickr.

The order for all police in Norway to be armed following an attack in Kongsberg last week was lifted on Friday morning. 

The police said in a statement Friday that, based on the information it had received from police security service PST, there was no longer any basis for maintaining the national armament order. 

“Norwegian police are basically unarmed in daily service, with firearms being stored in police vehicles, and police can be armed in connection with specific missions when needed. In that sense, we are now moving to a normal situation,” Tone Vangen, emergency preparedness director for the police, said in a statement

The police had been armed since last Wednesday following the incident in Kongsberg where Danish citizen Espen Andersen Bråthen killed five with an undisclosed sharp object and shot at police with a bow and arrow.

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

Police said earlier this week that the victims were chosen at random. The Danish citizen was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Bråthen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

The 37-year-old had previously announced publicly that he had converted to Islam and police initially reported that there had been fears of radicalisation. 

But police later said that mental illness was to be considered the primary motive for the attack. 

 “As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt said to reporters earlier this week.