Norway Carnage Suspect: Killings Cruel But Necessary

Posted July 24th, 2011 at 2:35 am (UTC-5)
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The lawyer for the Norwegian man suspected in Friday's horrific bombing and shooting rampage says his client deems his acts “atrocious” but necessary.

Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad said Saturday Anders Behring Breivik has expressed willingness to explain himself in court. The lawyer said his client has admitted responsibility for the attacks, which killed at least 92 people. He did not elaborate.

While there has been no official confirmation of the man's identity, Breivik was arrested for allegedly shooting at least 85 people dead at a youth camp on an island and killing seven more in a car bomb explosion that ripped through government buildings in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.

Police describe the 32-year-old 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 he has been a strong opponent of multi-culturalism in Norway. Norwegian media say he wrote a 1,500-page manifesto before the attack.

Earlier Saturday, a farm cooperative said it sold six tons of fertilizer, a product sometimes used in bomb-making, to Breivik in May.

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.

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 Tea island. Several hundred teenagers had gathered there as part of a program sponsored by the country's ruling Labor Party.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called the assaults – the worst in Norway since World War Two – “a national tragedy…a nightmare.” He called the bombing and shootings “bloody and cowardly attacks” and said Utoya 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.

While police questioned Breivik, the country's national news agency NTB said Saturday witnesses on Utoya told police two people were involved. The man already in custody was disguised as a police man, wearing a sweater with a police emblem on it, but the witnesses said the second man was not. Police said they do not know whether Breivik acted alone and are continuing their investigation.

Even as details emerged about Breivik's political views, Prime Minister 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 other people 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.