Kongsberg, a picturesque town of 25,000 people with wooden facades and the foliage changing colour for the autumn, was largely quiet on Thursday
Norway said Thursday a bow-and-arrow attack that killed five people appears to have been an “act of terror,” with the suspect a Danish Muslim convert previously known to police over fears he had been radicalised.
Four women and a man were killed, and three other people wounded during the rampage on Wednesday in the south-eastern town of Kongsberg in Norway’s deadliest attack in a decade.
Police official Ole Bredrup Saeverud had told reporters earlier in the day the man was believed to be a Muslim convert, adding: “There were fears linked to radicalisation previously.”
Reports that linked him to radicalisation pre-date this year, Saeverud said, and police followed up at the time. “We haven’t had any reports about him in 2021, but earlier,” he said.
PST also confirmed the suspect was known to them but declined to disclose further details.
Police prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen said the evaluation could take “maybe a couple of months”.
Norwegian media reported that Brathen was subject to two prior court rulings, including a restraining order against him regarding two close family members after threatening to kill one of them and a conviction for burglary and purchasing narcotics in 2012.
Website Nettavisen published a video Brathen allegedly posted to social media in 2017, in which he issued a “warning” and declared his Muslim faith.
“It is our opinion that what happened in Kongsberg yesterday does not warrant changes to the current threat assessment,” PST department head Arne Christian Haugstoeyl told reporters.
Since then, Norway has seen one other far-right attack, carried out by a self-proclaimed neo-Nazi who opened fire into a mosque.
Knut Olav Ouff, 54, told AFP he was about to light a cigarette on the doorstep when he found himself in the middle of the tragedy.
Streets were almost empty Thursday with only a light police presence.
Candles flickered outside the town’s church.
The victims have not yet been named publicly, but one of the wounded was an off-duty police officer who had been in a store.
Police were informed of the attack at 6:13 pm (1613 GMT) and the suspect was arrested at 6:47 pm. He fired arrows at police, who responded with warning shots, Saeverud said.
Police said Thursday the suspect had also used other weapons, but provided no details.
“No smile, nothing in the face. He was just staring,” the neighbour told AFP.
Norway rarely experiences such violence, but 10 years ago Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in the country’s worst massacre since World War II.