Norway Mass Shooting Is Being Investigated as Terrorism, Police Say


OSLO — Hours after a shooting early Saturday in Norway’s capital that killed two people and seriously wounded at least 10, the police said they were treating it as a terrorist attack.

The shooting happened near a popular gay club in downtown Oslo, hours before the city was scheduled to hold its annual Pride parade. The event’s organizers later said they had canceled the parade and other events connected to a 10-day Pride festival at the suggestion of the police.

“We will soon be proud and visible again, but for now, for today, we will hold our Pride events in our homes,” Inger Kristin Haugsevje, the leader of Oslo Pride, said in a statement.

A male suspect was apprehended shortly after the shooting, the Oslo police said on Twitter. Christian Hatlo, a lawyer for the police, told reporters later Saturday that the man in custody was a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen who was originally from Iran, and who had a record of minor crimes.

The gunman opened fire outside two nightclubs and a diner, the police said. Mr. Hatlo later said that the authorities had charged him with murder, attempted murder and terrorism. He said they were investigating the shooting as a terrorist attack because of the number of crime scenes and the size of the death and injury tolls.

“He seems to have had the intention to create fear in the population,” Mr. Hatlo said.

The police have reason to assume that the attack was a hate crime because one of the three venues was London Pub, a center of gay nightlife in Oslo, Mr. Hatlo said.

The suspect’s defense lawyer could not immediately be reached for comment.

In addition to the 10 people who were seriously wounded, 11 others were lightly injured, some during a panicked rush to flee the scene, Mr. Hatlo said. He added that the police had seized two weapons, including a fully automatic one.

Shootings are exceedingly rare in Norway. Gun owners must be licensed and take safety classes, and a ban on semiautomatic weapons enacted by the Norwegian Parliament — a belated response to a 2011 attack by a far-right gunman that killed 77 people — took effect last year.

Norway’s prime minister, Jonas Gahr Store, described the latest shooting in a statement as a “cruel and deeply shocking attack on innocent people.” The mayor of Oslo, Raymond Johansen, called it “gruesome.”

Masud Gharahkhani, the speaker of the Norwegian Parliament, also condemned the shooting on his Facebook page.

Mr. Gharahkhani, a Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin, said that the Parliament building had hoisted the Pride flag for the first time last Saturday to “celebrate diversity and love.”

“I am proud of that,” he said. “I have seen time after time how hate flourishes in social media when we celebrate queer diversity. That is sad and unacceptable.”

Henrik Pryser Libell reported from Oslo, and Mike Ives from Seoul.





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