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Norway Attacks: Police Say Suspect May Belong to Wider Network

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By R. Leigh Coleman, Christian Post Reporter
July 23, 2011|8:05 pm

Police in Norway told reporters Saturday that the investigation into Anders Behring Breivik, arrested in connection to the horrific bombing and shooting rampage in Norway, is a slow-going as reports of his loyalties to specific extremists groups are all over the board.

Norwegian authorities are trying desperately to piece together the suspect’s motives. They said forensics experts are sifting through the suspect's computer and small farm he owned where he grew vegetables.

"It's very difficult at this point to say if he was acting alone or if he was part of a larger network," Norwegian police told The Telegraph.

However, as police slowly put together the last movements of Breivik, who is the prime suspect for the murders of nearly 100 people, they now fear he could be part of a wider terrorist network, the Telegraph reports today.

The facts of the suspect's connection to specific extremist groups remain unclear, according to authorities.

The blonde and blue-eyed Norwegian has been labeled a “Christian fundamentalist,” “right-winged,” linked to an anti-Islamic group, and possibly connected to other extreme activists and terrorist groups.

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Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said that police were investigating many angles in the attacks, including the possibility of international support for the suspect.

“We are in touch with other country’s security services,” Stoltenberg told reporters at a news conference outside a makeshift hospital near Utoya Island.

“It is very important to see if there are international connections here.”

Acting Chief of Police Sveinung Sponheim told reporters, "He has had a dialogue with the police the whole time, but he's a very demanding suspect."

“What we know is that he is right wing and he posted that he was a Christian fundamentalist,” deputy police chief Roger Andresen said Saturday morning at a televised news conference.

“We have not been able to link him up to an anti-Islamic group.” He said that the suspect had not been arrested before, and that police were unsure if he had acted alone.

The suspect has allegedly described himself as a Conservative Christian on his Facebook page though the site is now down and cannot be verified.

“We find him responsible for both of the attacks,” police said. “At the moment we have no other people to arrest.”

In recent times, the term "fundamentalist" has become commonly used by the news media to refer to any religious group whom they consider to hold radical views.

Some use the term fundamentalist to identify any Christian whom they consider to be an extremist.

Church leaders argue that fundamentalism may no longer be a term that accurately conveys what Christians today really believe.

Police arrested the Norwegian national on Friday evening three hours after he planted a bomb in central Oslo and then went on a shooting rampage on an island 25 miles away.

Breivik was arrested on the island of Utoya, where he allegedly killed nearly 100 people after opening fire on a summer youth camp organized by the ruling Norwegian Labor party.

Authorities charged a 32-year-old man with planting explosives in central Oslo on Friday and the shooting spree on the isolated island hours later.

Media reports refer to the incident as the largest attack on Norway since World War II with the death toll rising dramatically overnight and into Saturday.

According to a Norwegian-language version of The Associated Press, the suspect was an anti-Islam nationalist.

Breivik has had many posts on the site Document.no, an Islam-critical site that publishes news and commentary, according to a recent news report.

In one of the posts, Breivik stated that “politics today no longer revolves around socialism against capitalism, but that the fight is between nationalism and internationalism.”

He expressed clear support for the nationalist mindset.

New reports also show that Breivik commented on the Swedish news articles, where he makes it clear that he believes the media have failed by not being Islam-critical.

Tore Bjorgo, a professor at Norwegian Police University College, is reportedly working with police on the investigation.

He said the fact that the second attack was directed at a political youth organization suggested the involvement of local or European right-wing extremists.

Breivik identifies himself as "ethnically Norwegian," and has posted writings at length on his dismay with the Norwegian government and the ruling liberal political party.

 

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