Norway mourns victims of anti-Islam attacker

SUNDVOLLEN, Norway, (Reuters) – Norway mourned today 93 people killed in a shooting spree and car bombing by a  Norwegian who saw his attacks as “atrocious, but necessary” to  defeat liberal immigration policies and the spread of Islam.
In his first comment via a lawyer since his arrest, Anders  Behring Breivik, 32, said he wanted to explain himself at a  court hearing on Monday about extending his custody.
“He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious,  but that in his head they were necessary,” lawyer Geir Lippestad  told independent TV2 news, adding that Breivik had admitted to  Friday’s shootings at a Labour party youth camp and the bombing  in Oslo’s government district earlier the same day.
Oslo’s acting police chief Sveinung Sponheim confirmed to  reporters that Breivik would be able to speak to the court. It  was not clear whether the hearing would be closed or in public.
“He has admitted to the facts of both the bombing and the  shooting, although he’s not admitting criminal guilt,” Sponheim  said, adding that Breivik had said he acted alone.
Police were checking this because some witness statements  from the island spoke of more than one gunman, Sponheim said.
Armed police detained several people in a raid on a small  house attached to a warehouse in northern Oslo, a police lawyer  told Reuters. They were later released and had no link to  Friday’s attacks. No explosives were found in the raid.
The violence, Norway’s worst since World War Two, has  profoundly shocked the usually peaceful nation of 4.8 million.
King Harald and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg were among  mourners at a service in Oslo cathedral, where the premier spoke  emotionally about the victims, some of whom he knew.
“This represents a national tragedy,” he declared.
Tearful people placed flowers and candles outside the  cathedral.
“We have left flowers today because the tragedy that has hit  Norway and the whole world has made a big impression on us and  we want to show our deepest sympathy,” said Trude-Mette, 43, who  works in Oslo, as she and her children wept.
Soldiers with guns and wearing bullet-proof vests blocked  streets leading to the government district.
Police said Breivik surrendered to armed officers when they  arrived on the small island of Utoeya in a lake about 42 km (26  miles) northwest of Oslo after he had methodically shot dead at  least 85 people, mostly teenagers and young adults attending a  summer camp of the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labour Party.
About 650 people were on the island when Breivik, wearing a  police uniform, opened fire. Police said it took them one hour  from when they were first alerted to stop the massacre, the  worst by a single gunman in modern times.
A person wounded in the shooting died in hospital, raising  the death toll to 93, Norway’s NRK television said. Police say  some people remain missing. Ninety-seven people were wounded.
Police chief Sponheim confirmed that Breivik had published a  1,500-page  anti-Islamic manifesto on Friday just hours before  the attacks.
The online tract, written in English, describes how he  planned his onslaught and made explosives, as well as outlining  his violent philosophy.
The killings would draw attention to the manifesto entitled  “2083-A European Declaration of Independence”, Breivik wrote.
“Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many  than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological  impact of the strike,” he wrote.
He attacked what he called “the Islamic colonisation and  Islamisation of Western Europe” and the “rise of cultural  Marxism/multiculturalism”.
Sponheim defended the speed of the police response to the  massacre on the island, only 500 metres long, where the gunman  was able to shoot unchallenged for a prolonged period.
“The response time from when we got the message was quick.  There were problems with transport out to the island,” he said.
Witnesses said the gunman shot his victims at will, as  youngsters fled in panic or tried to swim to the mainland.
Breivik may have intended the Oslo bombing, which killed  seven people, partly as a diversion. Police believe he drove to  Utoeya after the explosion in the capital.

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