Shortly before midnight on Friday, July 22, police arrested a 32-year-old Norwegian man who allegedly went on a murderous shooting spree at a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya and may also be responsible for the horrific bombing in Oslo earlier in the day.
The man arrested for the attack has been identified as Anders Behring Breivik. Norwegian TV2 reports that Breivik belongs to “right-wing circles” in Oslo. Sources in Norway tell IREHR that Breivik has been known to write posts in right-wing internet forums in Norway, where he has described himself as a “nationalist” and has also written numerous screeds critical of Muslims.
The Associated Press reports that Breivik has a Glock pistol, a rifle and a shotgun registered in the Norwegian gun registry. According to his Facebook page (since taken down), in 2009 Breivik established a business called GeoFarm, which he claimed to be engaged in the cultivation of vegetables. Such a business would give him access to large amounts of fertilizer, which could be used in the making of explosives.
According to witnesses in Utoya, the gunman was dressed as a police officer and gunned down young people as they ran for their lives at a youth camp. Police said Friday evening that they’ve linked the youth camp shooting and Oslo bombing. Late Friday, police also tell Reuters that the killings are of “catastrophic dimensions”, and that the total number dead from the attacks may rise above eighty, just on Utoya. Seven people are currently reported dead from the Oslo bomb blast, though that number may climb.
In the immediate aftermath of the terror in Norway, many news outlets wildly speculated that Islamic terrorists may have been responsible for the attacks. Just as after the tragic Oklahoma City bombing, the press and pundits let bigotry get in the way of the facts. IREHR will continue to follow developments in this case as they become available.
UPDATE 10:01pm – New evidence has surfaced indicating that Breivik appears to be a fan of the Tea Party’s favorite Islamophobe, Pamela Geller. The website Little Green Footballs reports that he’s been posting links to Geller’s website Atlas Shrugged since at least 2009. See here, for example.