Norway attacker killed victims with 'sharp object', not arrows
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Oslo (AFP) –
Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.
"At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows," police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.
He said that during the attack in the small town of Kongsberg on Wednesday, the suspect killed "five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces".
Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons.
The police added that they were still interviewing witnesses.
"Everything points to the victims being selected at random," Omholt said.
According to the police, a "double-digit" number of people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.
During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the five killings and to wounding three others.
The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publically that he is a convert to Islam and police have said that there had been fears of radicalisation.
- Warning signs -
He is being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.
"As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened," Omholt added.
On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.
Brathen had been living in Kongsberg, home to about 25,000 people some 80 kilometres (50 miles) west of the capital Oslo, for years and authorities have said he has a medical history, although details have not been made public.
The Norwegian security services PST, which are responsible for counter-terrorism, also said the man had been on their radar.
In the days following the attack police mentioned "fears of radicalisation," dating back to 2020 and before, which they said had been followed up at the time.
According to public broadcaster NRK, a first warning had been received in 2015 and, according to Norwegian media, PST had warned in 2018 that the suspect could commit "a small-scale attack".
News website Nettavisen also published a video that Brathen allegedly posted to social media in 2017, in which he issued a "warning" while declaring his Muslim faith.
© 2021 AFP