Attack On LGBTQ Bar In Norway ‘Islamist Terrorism Act’
By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent Worthy News
OSLO (Worthy News) – Norwegian’s prime minister admitted Saturday that the detained suspect of a deadly “act of Islamist terrorism” at a gay bar and nearby venues in Oslo was not deemed a threat after being questioned last month.
Two people were killed, and at least 21 were injured in the overnight shooting in and near the popular LGBTQ+ London Pub, the Herr Nilsen jazz club, and another pub in Norway’s capital, police said. Oslo’s annual LGBTQ+ Pride Parade planned for Saturday was canceled following the shooting that shocked the Scandinavian nation.
“We now need to see the result of an investigation,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere explained after police already called it “an act of Islamist terrorism.”
The 42-year-old suspected gunman, a Norwegian national originating from Iran was questioned in May “but not deemed a threat” at the time, Stoere said, raising questions about security services.
Eyewitnesses said the suspect took a gun from his bag and started firing, forcing terrified people to either throw themselves to the ground or flee. The attacker was arrested by police officers – who bystanders helped – minutes later, authorities said.
Two weapons were retrieved at the crime scene by police, one of them a fully automatic gun, according to investigators. Of the 21 injured, 10 were reportedly in serious condition.
The gunman was known to security services since 2015 as a “suspected radicalized Islamist” and had a history of mental illness, Norway’s PST intelligence service said.
“There is reason to think that this may be a hate crime,” police said earlier. “We are investigating whether… Pride was a target in itself or whether there are other motives.”
King Harald, Norway’s monarch, said he and his family were “horrified” by the violence. He said, “We must stand together” to defend “freedom, diversity, and respect for each other.”
European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that she was “shocked by the heinous attack on innocent people.” At the same time, French President Emmanuel Macron said: “We stand stronger against hate if we stand together.”
In the United States, John Kirby, a spokesman for the White House’s National Security Council, said: “We’re all horrified by the mass shooting in Oslo today targeting the LGBTQI+ community there. And our hearts obviously go out to all the families of the victims, the people of Norway, which is a tremendous ally, and of course the LGBTQI+ community there and around the world.”
As news of the shooting emerged, people, many carrying rainbow flags, were seen near the shooting scene, embracing each other and laying flowers to remember the victims.
The latest attack was expected to fuel debate about the tens of thousands of migrants fleeing war, persecution, and poverty in Muslim nations who arrived in Norway since 2015. While many integrate, there have been concerns among authorities about extremists and extremist views within the migrant community.
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