Norway Shooting-Bombing Suspect Recently Bought Six Tons of Fertilizer

Posted July 23rd, 2011 at 12:35 pm (UTC-5)
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(new head, lede, recasts grafs 1-14 ))

The Norwegian man suspected in Friday's horrific bombing and shooting rampage recently bought six tons of fertilizer, a product sometimes used in bomb-making.

A farm cooperative said Saturday it sold the fertilizer in May to the suspect in the assaults. A bomb blast at government headquarters in Oslo killed seven people and subsequent gun attacks at a youth camp on an island left at least 85 more dead.

Police described the suspect, identified in news media accounts as 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, as a “fundamentalist Christian” with political views that leaned “to the right.” Police say he had posted anti-Muslim rhetoric online and news accounts said that he has been a strong opponent of multi-culturalism in Norway.

In a single message on his Twitter social media account, he recently paraphrased British philosopher John Stuart Mill, saying, “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

Breivik managed an organic farm called Breivik GeoFarm, growing vegetables, melons, roots and tubers. The cooperative described the size of his fertilizer purchase as a “relatively standard order” for a farm like his but alerted authorities about the sale when it learned he was a suspect in the bombing. Norwegian media say the massive bomb that exploded at the government building was made from fertilizer.

Police say that Breivik is cooperating in their investigation. One police official said the suspect made it clear that he “wants to explain himself.” Norwegian media also reported that Breivik said on his Facebook page that he liked to play computer games, such as World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare Two.

The revelation about Breivik's fertilizer purchase came as Norwegian police investigated the possibility there might have been a second gunman involved in the assault on the youth camp on idyllic Utoeya island. Several hundred teenagers had gathered there as part of a summer program sponsored by the country's ruling Labor Party.

While police questioned Breivik, the country's national news agency NTB said Saturday that witnesses on Utoeya have told police two people were involved. The man already in custody was disguised as a policeman, wearing a sweater with a police emblem on it, but the witnesses said the second man was not.

Norway reeled with horror at the twin attacks.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called the assaults – the worst in Norway since World War Two – “a national tragedy. It is a nightmare.” He called the bombing and shootings “bloody and cowardly attacks” and said the island has been turned from “a paradise into hell.”

Police are searching the lake surrounding the island about 30 kilometers north of Oslo for more bodies.

Even as details emerged about Breivik's political views, Mr. Stoltenberg said it was “too early” to speculate on what the motive might have been for the attacks and police have also declined to assign a reason.

Mr. Stoltenberg said the “brutal” attack on “innocent youths” would not take away Norwegians' feeling of safety. He said safety was a pillar of society that Norwegians had taken for granted, and he stressed that the main focus is on saving the lives of those hurt in the attacks.

Norwegian foreign minister Jonas Gahr Store said that in addition to the seven deaths the bomb blast caused, nine others were seriously wounded. He said the death toll from the island attack could increase.

Eskil Pedersen, a leader of the Labor Party youth wing and a survivor of the attack, said the group “will not let the terrorist win.” He said the group will continue to work hard for the party in honor of those who were killed.

The building that was bombed in Oslo houses the office of the prime minister. He was not there at the time and was not harmed.

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the attacks and expressed his condolences for the loss of life.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton added that the United States is ready to support Norway as it seeks to bring those responsible to justice.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, through his spokesman, said he was shocked by the attacks and said the United Nations stands with the people of Norway “at this terrible moment.”