Oslo Norway Bombing: Suspect Anders Behring Breivik Bought Tons Of Fertilizer, Wrote Manifesto

07/23/2011 12:07 pm 12:07:06 | Updated Sep 22, 2011

SUNDVOLLEN, Norway -- OSLO - Police arrived at an island massacre about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred metres offshore. The assailant surrendered when police finally reached him, but 82 people died before that.

Survivors of the shooting spree have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape the gunman, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted -- and how long victims waited for help.

The shooting came on the heels of what police told The Associated Press was an "Oklahoma city-type" bombing in Oslo's downtown: It targeted a government building, was allegedly perpetrated by a homegrown assailant and used the same mix of fertilizer and fuel that blew up a federal building in the U.S. in 1995.

In all, at least 92 people were killed in the twin attacks that police are blaming on the same suspect, 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik.

"He has confessed to the factual circumstances," Breivik's defence lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told public broadcaster NRK. Lippestad said his client had also made some comments about his motives.

"He's said some things about that but I don't want to talk about it now," the lawyer told NRK.

Norwegian news agency NTB said the suspect wrote a 1,500-page manifesto before the attack in which he attacked multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. The manifesto also described how to acquire explosives and contained pictures of Breivik, NTB said. Oslo police declined to comment on the report.

A SWAT team was dispatched to the island more than 50 minutes after people vacationing at a campground said they heard shooting across the lake, according to Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim. The drive to the lake took about 20 minutes, and once there, the team took another 20 minutes to find a boat.

Footage filmed from a helicopter that showed the gunman firing into the water added to the impression that police were slow to the scene. They chose to drive, Sponheim said, because their helicopter wasn't on standby.

"There were problems with transport to Utoya," where the youth-wing of Norway's left-leaning Labor Party was holding a retreat, Sponheim said. "It was difficult to get a hold of boats."

At least 82 people were killed on the island, but police said four or five people were still missing.

Divers have been searching the surrounding waters, and Sponheim said the missing may have drowned. Police earlier said there was still an unexploded device on the island, but it later turned out to be fake.

The attack followed the explosion of a bomb packed into a panel truck outside the building that houses the prime minister's office in Oslo, according to a police official

"It was some kind of Oklahoma City-type bomb," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because police hadn't released the information.

Seven people were killed, and police said there are still body parts in the building. The Oslo University hospital said it has so far received 11 wounded from the bombing and 19 people from the camp shooting.

Police have charged Breivik under Norway's terror law. He will be arraigned on Monday when a court decides whether police can continue to hold him as the investigation continues.

Authorities have not given a motive for the attacks, but both were in areas connected to the Labor Party, which leads a coalition government.

Even police confessed to not knowing much about the suspect, but details trickled out about him all day: He had ties to a right-leaning political party, he posted on Christian fundamentalist websites, and he rented a farm where police found 9,000-11,000 pounds (4,000-5,000 kilograms) of fertilizer.

Police said the suspect is talking to them and has admitted to firing weapons on the island. It was not clear if he had confessed to anything else he is accused of.

"He has had a dialogue with the police the whole time, but he's a very demanding suspect," Sponheim said.

Earlier in the day, a farm supply store said they had alerted police that he bought six metric tons of fertilizer, which can be used in homemade bombs. That's at least one metric ton more than was found at the farm, according to police.

Police and soldiers were searching for evidence and potential bombs at the farm south of Oslo on Saturday. Havard Nordhagen Olsen, a neighbour, told The Associated Press that Breivik moved in about one moth ago, just next to his house and said he seemed like "a regular guy."

Olsen said he recognized his neighbour in the newspapers this morning and said he was in shock.

Meanwhile, Mazyar Keshvari, a spokesman for Norway's Progress Party -- which is conservative but within the political mainstream -- said that the suspect was a paying member of the party's youth wing from 1999 to 2004.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called the tragedy peacetime Norway's deadliest day.

"This is beyond comprehension. It's a nightmare. It's a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends," Stoltenberg told reporters Saturday.

Gun violence is rare in Norway, where the average policeman patrolling in the streets doesn't carry a firearm. Reports that the assailant was motivated by political ideology were shocking to many Norwegians, who pride themselves on the openness of their society. Indeed, Norway is almost synonymous with the kind of free expression being exercised by the youth at the political retreat.

King Harald V, Norway's figurehead monarch, vowed Saturday that those values would remain unchanged.

"I remain convinced that the belief in freedom is stronger than fear. I remain convinced in the belief of an open Norwegian democracy and society. I remain convinced in the belief in our ability to live freely and safely in our own country," said the king.

The monarch, his wife and the prime minister led the nation in mourning, visiting grieving relatives of the scores of youth gunned down. Buildings around the capital lowered their flags to half-staff. People streamed to Oslo Cathedral to light candles and lay flowers; outside, mourners began building a makeshift altar from dug-up cobblestones. The Army patrolled the streets of the capital, a highly unusual sight for this normally placid country.

The city centre was a sea of roadblocks Saturday, with groups of people peering over the barricades wherever they sprang up, as the shell-shocked Nordic nation was gripped by reports that the gunman may not have acted alone. Police have not confirmed a second assailant but said they are investigating witness reports.

The queen and the prime minister hugged when they arrived at the hotel where families are waiting to identify the bodies. Both king and queen shook hands with mourners, while the prime minister, his voice trembling, told reporters of the harrowing stories survivors had recounted to him.

On the island of Utoya, panicked teens attending a Labour Party youth wing summer camp plunged into the water or played dead to avoid the assailant in the assault. A picture sent out on Twitter showed a blurry figure in dark clothing pointing a gun into the water, with bodies all around him.

The carnage hours earlier in Oslo, when a bomb rocked the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings.

The dust-clogged scene after the blast reminded one visitor from New York of Sept. 11.

A 15-year-old camper named Elise who was on Utoya said she heard gunshots, but then saw a police officer and thought she was safe. Then he started shooting people right before her eyes.

Elise, whose father didn't want her to disclose her last name, said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. "I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock," she said.

She said it was impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.

At a hotel in the village of Sundvollen, where survivors of the shooting were taken, 21-year-old Dana Berzingi wore pants stained with blood. He said the fake police officer ordered people to come closer, then pulled weapons and ammunition from a bag and started shooting.

Several victims "had pretended they were dead to survive," Berzingi said. But after shooting the victims with one gun, the gunman shot them again in the head with a shotgun, he said.

Earlier, the police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the attack "is probably more Norway's Oklahoma City than it is Norway's World Trade Center." Domestic terrorists carried out the 1995 attack, while foreign terrorists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The United States, European Union, NATO and the U.K., all quickly condemned the bombing, which Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague called "horrific" and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen deemed a "heinous act."

"It's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring," President Barack Obama said.

Obama extended his condolences to Norway's people and offered U.S. assistance with the investigation. He said he remembered how warmly Norwegians treated him in Oslo when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wrote to Norway's King Harald to offer her condolences and express her shock and sadness at the shooting attacks in his country.

A U.S. counterterrorism official said the United States knew of no links to terrorist groups and early indications were the attack was domestic. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was being handled by Norway.

25/07/2011 05:08 BST

Suspect Wants To Explain Why He Killed 93 In Court Hearing Monday

From Reuters:

Calling himself a crusader against a tide of Islam in a rambling 1,500-page online manifesto, the 32-year-old mass murderer wants the opportunity to explain actions he deemed 'atrocious, but necessary'.

Lawyer Geir Lippestad said his client had admitted to Friday's shootings at a Labour youth camp and a bomb that killed seven people in Oslo's government district, but that he denies any criminal guilt.

24/07/2011 17:16 BST

Suspect Tells Authorities He Acted Alone

CNN says authorities report that the suspect said he acted alone. Norway's king held memorial services for those grieving victims of the attacks.

The man accused of killing at least 93 people in Norway has said he carried out the bombing and mass shooting, authorities said Sunday, as an ashen-faced and openly weeping King Harald V led the nation in mourning.

The suspect has not pleaded guilty, and said he acted alone with no accomplice, acting National Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim told reporters Sunday.

24/07/2011 17:13 BST

Suspect Reportedly Had More Ammunition

BreakingNews reports that the suspect was not out of ammo when he surrendered.

@ BreakingNews : Police: Suspect in Norway attacks still hada lot of ammunition when he surrendered - AP

24/07/2011 17:08 BST

Police: Someone Should Have Been There To Stop Gunman

Reuters reports that a police guard was supposed to be on the island when attacks occured:

@ REUTERSFLASH : Norwegian police say a police guard had been due to be on island hit by attacks, but unsure where he was

24/07/2011 04:32 BST

Why Was The Response Time So Slow?

It took the police 90 minutes to respond to the massacre on Utoya island.

Police arrived at an island massacre about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn't have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn't find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards (meters) offshore. The assailant surrendered when police finally reached him, but 82 people died before that.

24/07/2011 02:44 BST

Chilling Accounts From Island Shooting Survivors

A few horrific first-person reports of the shooting on Utoya Island are emerging this evening.

Here, survivors describe the two hours of terror they endured.

They are running from the approaching gunman, his "POLICE" moniker crystal-clear to see from even middle distance.

"My first thought was: Why are the police shooting at us? What the hell?" she writes.

More than a dozen crowd into a dark corner of a camp building, and all lie down on the floor. She cries quietly – then sees her best friend from camp, a boy, through a window.

"I wondered if I should go out and bring him to me. I did not. I saw fear in his eyes," she writes.

And from the New York Times:

There was little shelter or chance for those caught back on the island. Witnesses told Norwegian news agencies that the shooter sprayed bullets into piles of dead bodies, apparently seeking those that were hiding among them. On Saturday night, the authorities knew that 85 had been killed, and still sought bodies in the water, or in an unchecked corner of Utoya.

“He seemed he was enjoying it” Magnus Stenseth, a youth leader, told the Norwegian newspaper VG. “He walked around the island as if he had absolute power.”

24/07/2011 01:10 BST

Anders Behring Breivik Says His Attacks Were 'Necessary,' According To His Lawyer

Reuters reports:

The man suspected of a gun and bomb attack in Norway has called his deeds atrocious yet necessary, his defense lawyer said on Saturday.

"He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary," defense lawyer Geir Lippestad told TV2 news.

Lippestad said his client had said he was willing to explain himself in a court hearing on Monday.

24/07/2011 00:51 BST

Report: Anders Behring Breivik Admits To Attacks

From the Wall Street Journal:

Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man charged in the bombing and shootings in Norway's capital and a nearby island Friday that left at least 92 people dead, has admitted to the crimes, his lawyer told Norwegian radio late Saturday.

Gier Lippestad, Mr. Breivik's lawyer, told Norwegian public radio NRK that Mr. Breivik admits to having killed 92 people on Friday and has told police of the circumstances.

23/07/2011 22:36 BST

Photo Of Alleged Shooter Holding Gun

Here is a photo from a now deleted YouTube video possibly uploaded by alleged shooter Anders Breivik in which he's pictured with an automatic weapon.

23/07/2011 21:49 BST

The Gunman's Manifesto

Norwegian journalist Ketil Stensrud has posted a link on his Twitter account where people can download the gunman's manifesto, in which, Stensrub tweets "he gives detailed account of planned attack."

Photos from the Explosions in Oslo

At least 87 people were killed on the island Friday. Another seven died in an earlier bombing in Oslo.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

SUNDVOLLEN, Norway (AP) - The Norwegian man suspected in a bombing and shooting spree that killed at least 92 people bought six tons of fertilizer before the massacre, the supplier said Saturday as police investigated witness accounts of a second shooter.

Norway's royal family and prime minister led the nation in mourning, visiting grieving relatives of the scores of youth gunned down at an island retreat, as the shell-shocked Nordic nation was gripped by reports that the gunman may not have acted alone.

Downtown Oslo was a sea of roadblocks Saturday, with groups of people peering over the barricades wherever they sprang up. But evacuations of an area of the city just blocks from the bombing site Saturday evening were quickly halted.

The shooting spree began just hours after a massive explosion that ripped through an Oslo high-rise building housing the prime minister's office. At least 92 people have been killed, but police say more are missing.

The suspect in custory was identified by Norway's national broadcaster as Anders Behring Breivik, 32; police would not confirm his identity because he has not been formally charged.

Authorities say he posted on Christian fundamentalist websites and reportedly held right-wing, anti-Muslim views. He was also once a member of the youth wing of a rightist party.

The queen and the prime minister hugged when they arrived at the hotel where families are waiting to identify the bodies. Both king and queen shook hands with mourners, while the prime minister, his voice trembling, told reporters of the harrowing stories survivors had recounted to him.

A man who said he was carrying a knife was detained by police officers outside the hotel. He told reporters as he was led away that he was carrying the weapon because he didn't feel safe.

On the island of Utoya, panicked teens attending a Labour Party youth wing summer camp plunged into the water or played dead to avoid the assailant in the assault that may have lasted 30 minutes before a SWAT team arrived, police said. A picture sent out on Twitter showed a blurry figure in dark clothing pointing a gun into the water, with bodies all around him.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said the twin attacks made Friday peacetime Norway's deadliest day.

Buildings around the capital lowered their flags to half-staff on Saturday. People streamed to Oslo Cathedral to light candles and lay flowers; outside, mourners began building a makeshift altar from dug-up cobblestones. The Army patrolled the streets of the capital, a highly unusual sight for this normally placid country.

"This is beyond comprehension. It's a nightmare. It's a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends," Stoltenberg told reporters earlier Saturday.

Information about the man in custody began to trickle out Saturday, including that he owned a farm and had amassed six tons of fertilizer in the weeks before the twin attacks. Fertilizer is highly explosive and can be used in homemade bombs. Police searched both the farm and his apartment in Oslo overnight.

Oddny Estenstad, a spokeswoman for agricultural material supplier Felleskjopet, said Saturday that the company alerted police to the purchase after the man emerged as a suspect.

While his motive was unclear, there were links to political activity. Mazyar Keshvari, a spokesman for Norway's rightist populist Progress Party - which is conservative but within the political mainstream - said that the suspect was a paying member of the party's youth wing from 1999 to 2004.

That quantity of fertilizer - akin to 200 50-pound bags of grain - wouldn't have fit in one car, according to Bob Ayers, former U.S. intelligence official. Two burned-out cars could be see at the scene Friday, but police have not confirmed whether they were used in the attack.

Though police have not confirmed the suspect's identity, a picture of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed man floated around the Internet. The father of three children who survived the attack said the man in the picture was the assailant.

Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told reporters that the attacks, believed to be the work of a man who has posted on Christian fundamentalist websites, showed you can't jump to conclusions about terror acts. He said most of the political violence that Norway has seen has come from the extreme right.

"This is a phenomenon that we have to address very seriously," Stoere said.

The Army patrols were an indication of the stepped up vigilance, although police lifted their recommendation, issued after the bombing, that people stay away from the city center.

Gun violence is rare in Norway, where the average policeman patrolling in the streets doesn't carry a firearm. Reports that the assailant was motivated by political ideology was shocking to many Norwegians, who pride themselves on the openness of their society. Indeed, Norway is almost synonymous with the kind of free expression being exercised by the youth at the political retreat.

Stoltenberg vowed that the attack would not change those fundamental values.

"It's a society where young people can ... have controversial opinions without being afraid," he told reporters.

Andresen, the acting police chief, said the suspect was talking to police.

"He is clear on the point that he wants to explain himself," he told reporters at a news conference.

The toll in the shooting hit 85 on Saturday, but police warned that it could rise further as they sent divers into the lake around the island retreat to look for bodies. Acting Police Chief Roger Andresen said he did not how many people were still missing.

The Oslo University hospital said it has so far received 11 wounded from the bombing and 16 people from the camp shooting.

The carnage began Friday afternoon in Oslo, when a bomb rocked the heart of Norway. About two hours later, the shootings began at a retreat for ruling Labour Party's youth-wing, according to a police official. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway's police. The gunman used both automatic weapons and handguns, he said. It was not clear Saturday whether experts had succeeded in disarming a bomb that the official said had been left unexploded.

The blast in Oslo, Norway's capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings.

The dust-clogged scene after the blast reminded one visitor from New York of Sept. 11. People were "just covered in rubble," walking through "a fog of debris," said Ian Dutton, who was in a nearby hotel.

While survivors evacuated the buildings, including ones that house other government offices and Norway's leading newspaper, word came that someone had opened fire on an island about 20 miles (35 kilometers) northwest of Oslo.

Stoltenberg told reporters that he had spent every summer since 1974 on Utoya - "my childhood paradise that yesterday was transformed into hell." The island hosts retreats for the youth wing of his party.

A SWAT team that had been put on alert after the bombing was dispatched to the island once the shooting began. Police official Johan Fredriksen said that means they may have taken 30 minutes to reach the island.

Survivors described a scene there of terror. Several people fled into the water to escape the rampage, and police said they were still searching the lake for bodies.

Asked whether all victims at Utoya died from gunshot wounds or if some had drowned, Stoere, the foreign minister, said "you will likely see a combination."

A 15-year-old camper named Elise who was on Utoya said she heard gunshots, but then saw a police officer and thought she was safe. Then he started shooting people right before her eyes.

"I saw many dead people," said Elise, whose father, Vidar Myhre, didn't want her to disclose her last name. "He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water."

Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. "I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock," she said.

She said it was impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.

At a hotel in the village of Sundvollen, where survivors of the shooting were taken, 21-year-old Dana Berzingi wore pants stained with blood. He said the fake police officer ordered people to come closer, then pulled weapons and ammunition from a bag and started shooting.

Several victims "had pretended they were dead to survive," Berzingi said. But after shooting the victims with one gun, the gunman shot them again in the head with a shotgun, he said.

"I lost several friends," said Berzingi, who used the cell phone of one of those friends to call police.

An official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the attack "is probably more Norway's Oklahoma City than it is Norway's World Trade Center." Domestic terrorists carried out the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City, while foreign terrorists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Though the prime minister cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the gunman's motives, both attacks were in areas connected to the left-leaning Labour Party, which leads a coalition government. The youth camp, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) northwest of Oslo, is organized by the party's youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there Saturday.

Sponheim said a man was arrested in the shooting, and the suspect had been observed in Oslo before the explosion there. But he refused to confirm the suspect's identity as reported by Norwegian media.

Sponheim said the camp shooter "wore a sweater with a police sign on it. I can confirm that he wasn't a police employee and never has been."

Aerial images broadcast by Norway's TV2 showed members of a SWAT team dressed in black arriving at the island in boats and running up the dock. People who had stripped down to their underwear moved in the opposite direction, swimming away from the island toward the mainland, some using flotation devices.

The United States, European Union, NATO and the U.K., all quickly condemned the bombing, which Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague called "horrific" and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen deemed a "heinous act."

"It's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring," President Barack Obama said.

Obama extended his condolences to Norway's people and offered U.S. assistance with the investigation. He said he remembered how warmly Norwegians treated him in Oslo when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II wrote to Norway's King Harald to offer her condolences and express her shock and sadness at the shooting attacks in his country.

A U.S. counterterrorism official said the United States knew of no links to terrorist groups and early indications were the attack was domestic. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was being handled by Norway.

___

Nordstrom reported from Stockholm. Associated Press reporters Nils Myklebost Oslo, Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Rita Foley in Washington, Paisley Dodds in London, and Paul Schemm in Tripoli, Libya, contributed to this report.

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