One hurt in Norway mosque shooting, suspect arrested

Police and emergency services attend the scene after a shooting inside the al-Noor Islamic center mosque in Baerum outside Oslo, Norway, Saturday Aug. 10, 2019. (AP)
Updated 11 August 2019

One hurt in Norway mosque shooting, suspect arrested

  • Norwegian police said they were aware that Saturday’s suspect had been active online prior to the shooting

OSLO: A gunman armed with multiple weapons opened fire in a mosque near Oslo on Saturday, injuring one person before being overpowered by an elderly worshipper and arrested, Norwegian police and witnesses said.
Hours after the attack, the body of a young woman related to the suspect was found in a home in the suburb of Baerum where the shooting took place earlier in the day, police said Saturday evening.
Investigators are treating her death as suspicious and have opened a murder probe.
The head of the mosque described the assailant as a young white man dressed in black and said he was wearing a helmet and bulletproof vest.
He said only three people had been inside the Al-Noor Islamic center at the time of the attack.
Police were alerted to the shooting shortly after 4 p.m. (1400 GMT).
Officers first reported that a victim had been shot, but later clarified one person had sustained “minor injuries” and that it was unclear if they were gunshot wounds.
Police said the suspect appeared to have acted on his own.
“It is a Norwegian young man, with a Norwegian background. He lives in the vicinity,” Oslo police spokesman Rune Skjold had told a press conference earlier Saturday.
Skjold added that the suspect had been known to police before the incident but could not be described as someone with a “criminal background.”
Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when 77 people were killed by Anders Behring Breivik.

“One of our members has been shot by a white man with a helmet and uniform,” Irfan Mushtaq, head of the mosque, told local media.
Mushtaq said that the man had carried multiple weapons, but that he had been subdued by a member of the mosque.
Mushtaq himself had arrived at the scene shortly after being alerted about the gunman, and had gone to the back of the building while waiting for police to arrive.
“Then I see that there are cartridges scattered and blood on the carpets, and I see one of our members is sitting on the perpetrator, covered in blood,” Mushtaq told Norwegian newspaper VG.
He said the man who apparently overpowered the shooter was 75 years old and had been reading the Qur'an after a prayer session.
According to Mushtaq, the mosque had not received any threats ahead of the shooting.
The attack took place on the eve of the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Adha, marking the end of the Muslim pilgrimage Hajj.
Police said Saturday they would be sending out more officers so that those celebrating would “be as safe as possible.”

There has been a recent spate of white nationalist attacks in the West, including in the United States and in New Zealand where 51 Muslim worshippers were killed in March in shootings at two mosques in the city of Christchurch.
The Al-Noor Islamic center in Norway shares its name with the worst affected mosque in the New Zealand attacks.
Local Norwegian paper Budstikka said it had contacted the mosque in March after the Christchurch massacre and that officials there had said security would be tightened.
The suspect in the Christchurch killings wrote a hate-filled manifesto in which he said he was influenced by far-right ideologues including the Norwegian mass murderer Breivik.
Breivik detonated a massive bomb in Oslo that killed eight people and then opened fire on a gathering of the Labour Party’s youth wing on the island of Utoya, killing another 69 people, most of them teenagers.
Norwegian police said they were aware that Saturday’s suspect had been active online prior to the shooting.
Broadcaster TV2 reported they had learned the identity of the man and located a post to an online forum from someone using the same name, posted only hours before the attack.
The post seemingly praising the New Zealand attacker and ended with the words “Valhall awaits.”


French PM pays homage to aid workers killed in Niger

Updated 27 min 53 sec ago

French PM pays homage to aid workers killed in Niger

  • PM Jean Castex sought to assure the parents of the four women and two men that all of France mourned their passing
  • The six, their Nigierien guide and driver, were killed on Sunday in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast of Niamey

PARIS: France’s prime minister led a memorial service Friday for six aid workers killed in Niger in what investigators said had likely been a premeditated attack targeting Westerners.
As the six caskets lay side by side in the VIP section of Orly Airport south of Paris, where the bodies arrived Friday from Niamey, Jean Castex sought to assure the parents of the four women and two men that all of France mourned their passing.
“In front of these six coffins... I want first of all to express the pain, the incomprehension, the anger of all French people,” said the premier as he saluted the youngsters’ generosity and altruism.
“The victims of this attack came to Niger to do good. They met with evil.”
The six, their Nigierien guide and driver, were killed on Sunday in a wildlife haven about an hour’s drive southeast of Niamey.
The area is a popular destination for weekend leisure trips by Niamey residents, including foreigners.
They worked for French NGO Acted and were aged between 25 and 30.
“This incarnation of evil, France unfortunately knows it only too well... it is very likely the same hatred, the same cowardice, the same inhumanity at work in Niger and Bataclan,” the Parisian concert venue targeted by extremists in 2015, said Castex.
And he stressed there was “no question of giving an inch of ground to criminal fanaticism or to enemies of the freedom to act, think and engage.”
Earlier, a source close to an ongoing investigation by French anti-terror prosecutors told AFP the attack “appears to have been premeditated to target a priori mainly Westerners.”
France’s anti-terror prosecutor’s office said Monday it would probe charges of murder “with links to a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association” in relation to the killings.
A team of 11 specialized investigators departed France for Niger the following day.
No one has claimed responsibility for the attack carried out by gunmen on motorcycles.
But “given the modus operandi, the terrorist hypothesis is being favored,” the source told AFP.
Suspicion has fallen on Daesh in the Great Sahara, active in the shared border region of Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso, where it is being pursued by France’s Barkhane force fighting extremists in the Sahel.
The French investigation will seek to determine whether the assailants had been tipped off about the humanitarians’ visit to the national park.
French President Emmanuel Macron has described it as “manifestly a terrorist attack” and said there would be repercussions.
“We’re pursuing action to eradicate the terrorist groups, with the strengthened support of our partners,” Macron said.