Norway reels as killer runs rampant

2011-07-23 15:40

Blond, blue-eyed Anders Behring Breivik, with his strong eastern Norwegian accent, has kicked the hornet’s nest.

The most heinous attack on Norwegian soil since the Second World War was not perpetrated by some radical Islamic fundamentalist from Pakistan or an ­al-Qaeda sleeper cell, but a single Christian fundamentalist.

His attack on Friday – detonating a bomb in Oslo, killing seven, and mowing down at least 85 teenagers on Utoya Island – initially had all the hallmarks of the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Dr Bibhu Routray, an independent analyst in Singapore, writes: “If Breivik is found to have acted on his own, the incidents herald the terror orchestrating capacity of a lone terrorist vis-a-vis the ­lethality of an organised terror outfit like al-Qaeda.

It leads one to conclude that a self-radicalised ­individual can inflict far more damage than the established ­terror outfits.”

The attack has been dubbed the Scandinavian equivalent of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing when Timothy McVeigh, an ­American militia movement ­sypathiser, detonated a truck-bomb, killing 168 people.

Breivik’s twin attack has caught Norway off guard, but also raises questions about the threat of rightwing extremists from within its borders and in Europe.

Anti-Islamic sentiments and far-right extremism has risen ­significantly in the past decade in Europe, fuelled by right-wing ­opposition against immigration and increasing anti-Muslim ­sentiments.

But attacks have been far fewer. Neo-Nazi groups carried out a series of murders and robberies in Scandinavia in the 1990s but have since kept a low profile.

The Norway police security service in February warned in a ­report of “increased levels of ­activity by far-right militants”.

“Norwegian far-right extremists are in contact with those in Sweden and other extremist groups in Europe and Russia,” it said.

Analysts are also warning not to dismiss Breivik as simply a lone, deranged gunman. The Christian fundamentalism belief system has some following in Norway and other European countries, which makes another similar attack quite likely.

Reports from Norway describe the pretty boy Breivik as a “loner” who hates Muslims, lives with his mother and enjoys hunting.

Breivik describes himself on ­Facebook as a Christian and a ­conservative with an interest in body-building and freemasonry.

He posted a single entry on his newly opened Twitter account on July 17: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.”

He is educated, but his only military training was regular military service. He has two weapons ­registered in his name: a machine-gun and a Glock pistol.

He owns Breivik Geofarm and ran an organic farm for melons and vegetables. This has sparked rumours that his business allowed him to gain access to huge amounts of fertiliser, an ingredient in bombs.

Breivik is an avid commentator on right-wing websites, where he fiercely argues against multiculturism, driving home his point that people from different cultures cannot live together.

On Friday he was spotted in ­central Oslo before the bomb ripped through the area.

It is believed he drove for half an hour and took a ferry to Utoya Island, where 600 youths were camping.

Dressed in a police uniform and bulletproof vest, he had at least one handgun and one telescoped rifle with him.

Once on the island, he calmly focused on “hunting” down child after child.

A Norwegian television crew shot images of him walking with a lowered rifle among at least seven bodies on the island shores.

He managed to kill 84 campers, some shot in the icy Norwegian waters when they tried to flee the island, before police apprehended him. – Sources: www.nrk.no, www.aftenbladet.no, www.dailymail.co.uk, www. alarabiya.net

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