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TERRORISM

Norway mosque shooter charged with murder and terrorism

A 22-year-old Norwegian man accused of killing his step-sister before opening fire in a mosque near Oslo in August was charged with murder and terrorism on Monday, prosecutors said.

Norway mosque shooter charged with murder and terrorism
Philip Manshaus, centre, in court in Oslo in January. Photo: Vidar Ruud/NTB Scanpix/AFP

Philip Manshaus was arrested after opening fire in the Al-Noor mosque in the affluent Oslo suburb of Bærum on August 10th last year before he was overpowered by a 65-year-old man.

Just three worshippers were in the mosque at the time, and there were no serious injuries.

The body of his 17-year-old step-sister was later found in their home.

Adopted by his father's girlfriend, Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen was killed by four bullets, police said.

Police have previously said they believed the motive for the murder to be racist, saying he killed her because she was of Asian origin.

The charge sheet filed with the Asker and Bærum district court on Monday contained two charges.

One charge of murder for having killed his stepsister, and one charge of a “terrorist act” by attempting to kill with the “intention of creating severe fear in a population.”

The trial is expected to begin on May 7th.

Manshaus has previously admitted to the actions but has rejected the charges of murder and terrorism, claiming that it was a “kind of self-defence.”

On September 9th, at a court hearing to extend his detention in custody, Manshaus raised his arm in a Nazi salute to the assembled media.

Manshaus lawyer, Unni Fries, told broadcaster NRK that the charges did not come as a surprise.

“We are going to take a closer look at this and work towards the trial,” Fried said.

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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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