Mosque attack is being investigated as an attempted act of terrorism

Rune Skjold Assistant Chief of Police holds a news conference after a shooting in al Noor Islamic centre mosque in the police headquarters in Oslo Norway on Saturday. — Reuters

A suspected gunman tried to shoot up a mosque in Norway over the weekend in an attempted terrorist attack that officials first caught wind of previous year - but failed to act on, a police official admitted Monday.

A Norwegian man opened fire on the Al-Noor Islamic Centre in Bærum, Norway on Saturday.

The man suspected of shooting at people inside a Norwegian mosque on Saturday and of separately killing his stepsister does not admit to any crime and is not speaking with investigators, his lawyer said today.

Oslo's acting chief of the police operation Rune Skjold said Sunday the investigation showed that the suspect appeared to hold "far-right" and "anti-immigrant" views.

According to Norwegian newspaper VG, police confirmed that she was the suspect's 17-year-old younger sister.

Skjold said the suspect - a Norwegian citizen - had been charged with attempted murder in connection with the mosque attack and with murder after the young woman's body was found.

Shortly before the mosque attack, a person identifying himself as Philip Manshaus had posted a message on the EndChan forum calling on readers to move a "race war" off the web and into real life ("irl"). Police are assessing whether to press terrorism charges.

Conservative Prime Minister Erna Solberg on Sunday assured Norway's Muslim community of government support.


Unni Fries, the suspect's lawyer, declined to offer any further information and told AFP that she needed "much more time to get into the case".

A judge is expected to rule later in the day on the police request to formally detain him, the Oslo District Court said. The suspect was arrested after the attack.

Rafiq said he used momentum to tackle the shooter and throw him to the ground and disarm him, before the other men present at the mosque rushed to his help.

Oslo police wrote on Twitter: 'There has been a shooting episode inside the mosque'.

Police said the suspect was waving weapons while inside the mosque but did not specify what type.

In a statement on Sunday, Oslo police said "the aggressor refused to give any statement to the police this night, but new questionings will be carried out". "And based on the views he's expressed online, it means we can safely say we are investigating an attempted act of terrorism".

Eight years ago a Norwegian neo-Nazi murdered 77 people, first in Oslo and then at a summer youth camp run by the centre-left on the island of Utoeya.

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