Shooting near a gay bar in Oslo: the privileged track of “Islamist terrorism”

Shooting near a gay bar in Oslo: the privileged track of “Islamist terrorism”

Norwegian security services favor the track of “Islamist terrorism” after fatal shootings at night near a gay bar in the heart of downtown Oslo, a shooting that led to the cancellation of an LGBT Pride march scheduled for this Saturday.

Quickly arrested, the alleged perpetrator of the attack which killed two people and injured 21, including ten seriously, “has a long history of violence and threats”, declared Roger Berg, the head of the Norwegian internal intelligence services ( PST), in charge of anti-terrorism.

The PST had him on its radar “since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalization” and his membership in “an extremist Islamist network”, but interviews with him last month led to the conclusion that he had no of “violent intentions”, he said during a press conference.

Oslo police previously presented the suspect as a 42-year-old Norwegian of Iranian descent.

The PST is also aware of “difficulties related to his mental health”, said Mr. Berg.

As is the rule in serious cases, the suspect will be placed under observation to determine his mental state and help to clarify the question of his criminal responsibility. He has so far refused to be heard by investigators.

The shooting occurred around 1 a.m. (2300 GMT Friday) outside a pub, Per på hjørnet, then in front of a nearby gay club, the London Pub, in an area then black with people on this hot night. of summer.

According to the police, the vital prognosis of the wounded is not engaged. Those killed are two men in their 50s and 60s, she said.

– Tributes on the site –

The LGBT Pride march due to take place on Saturday afternoon in Oslo – for the first time in three years due to the pandemic – has been canceled on the recommendation of the police. Just a postponement to a later date, then rectified the mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen.

A spontaneous parade still brought together thousands of people to cries of “We’re here, we’re queer. We won’t disappear” (“We are here, we are queer. We will not disappear”).

“It’s fantastic that this march is taking place, otherwise he would have won,” a participant in her fifties told AFP, clearly upset.

In a show of solidarity, many people, often in tears and silent, went to lay rainbow flags and bouquets of flowers near the scene of the attack cordoned off by the police.

At the end of the day, the princely couple – with Princess Mette-Marit struggling to contain her tears – the Prime Minister and several other officials did the same.

At this stage, the police believe that the author of the shooting acted alone, even if the investigation will have to shed light on possible complicity upstream.

The police force has been reinforced in the capital to deal with possible other incidents and the agents, who are generally unarmed, have been instructed to arm themselves throughout the kingdom.

From “moderate”, the PST raised the level of threats against the Scandinavian country to “extraordinary”, arguing that the situation was still “confused”.

– Two guns –

The suspect was arrested at 1:19 a.m. Saturday (2319 GMT Friday), five minutes after the first reports.

Civilians assisted in his capture as well as first aid, according to the police who hailed “a heroic contribution”.

The man had previously had to deal with the police for minor offenses such as carrying a knife and a conviction for possession of narcotics.

Norwegian media have identified him as Zaniar Matapour, presented as a father of Iranian Kurdish origin who arrived in Norway as a child.

Two firearms were seized in connection with the attack, which police described as “antique”.

“Today, we should celebrate love and color our streets with the colors of the rainbow. Instead, we are invaded by mourning,” reacted Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre during a meeting. ‘a press conference.

“Even if we are not sure that it is the homosexual circles that were targeted, we know that (they) are the victim,” he added.

King Harald, meanwhile, said he was “horrified”. “We must come together to defend our values: freedom, diversity and mutual respect,” he said in a statement.

From French President Emmanuel Macron to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, many foreign leaders have condemned the attack.

US President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, called the shooting “horrific”.

Generally peaceful, Norway has nevertheless been the scene of bloody attacks like those perpetrated on July 22, 2011 by right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik.

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