Oslo gay bar attack: Radical Islamist under watch since 2015 named as suspect

Edited By: Moohita Kaur Garg
Oslo, Norway Updated: Jun 28, 2022, 01:38 PM(IST)

Speaking at a news conference PST's chief Roger Berg said that the agency had been keeping an eye on the suspect "since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalisation" and membership "in an Islamist extremist network." Photograph:( Reuters )

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The suspect was interviewed by intelligence services last month, but Berg said that at the time they did not believe the man had "violent inclinations."

A Norwegian court on Monday named Zaniar Matapour, a Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin as the suspect in the deadly rampage at a gay bar in Oslo. The rampage killed two and injured 21. As per a Reuters report, the suspect has been described as an individual who suffers from mental illness and is a radicalised Islamist. The attack took place on Saturday (June 25th) when the city was scheduled to celebrate its annual pride parade. The initial conditions of Matapour's incarceration will be decided by a district court and as part of that process, he will have to go through a psychiatric evaluation.In addition to terrorism, Matapour is charged with murder and attempted murder. His defence strategy remains to be seen. The attack is being treated as "an act of Islamist terrorism," according to earlier statements made by Norway's domestic intelligence service PST, which is in charge of counterterrorism.

Watch | Oslo on extraordinary terror level alert after mass shooting in Norway's capital

According to intelligence agencies, Matapour was a member of a network of Islamist radicals in Norway and had been known to them since 2015.

Speaking at a news conference PST's chief Roger Berg said that the agency had been keeping an eye on the suspect "since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalisation" and membership "in an Islamist extremist network."

Also read | Oslo shooting being treated as 'act of Islamist terrorism', says Norwegian authorities

The suspect was interviewed by intelligence services last month, but Berg said that at the time they did not believe the man had "violent inclinations."

According to Berg, the suspect "has a long history of violence and threats," and PST was also aware of the suspect's "difficulties with his mental health." he added.

The suspect's attorney, John Christian Elden, while talking to TV2 that there was no way to infer the objectives or reasons for the attack.

(With inputs from agencies)

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