Police have said a Norwegian national has been taken into custody as a suspect in the shooting at Utoya island and a bomb blast in the capital, which killed more than 80 people.
Immediately after the carnage rocked the prosperous ad peaceful Scandinavian country, rumors had flown thick and past that some radical Islamist organization was behind the worst attack on the county since the World War II.
The theory was supported by the radical Islamists’ simmering anger over the publication of a cartoon lampooning the prophet last year and Oslo's increased military presence in Muslim countries like Afghanistan and Libya.
However, the revelation that a Norwegian national named Anders Behring Breivik has been nabbed as the suspect and the preliminary conclusion that he may have acted alone behind the twin attacks, have opened the field wider for speculation over the motive behind the attack.
The following are some details about the alleged attacker Anders Behring Breivik, 32-year-old blond Norwegian:
While it is clear that Breivik had held radical Christian views and was a confirmed anti-Muslim, there is still no conclusive evidence to suggest that he had sculpted himself into a homegrown terrorist with established agenda.
According to Norwegian newspapers, a Facebook page ascribed to Breivik showed him as a person interested in bodybuilding, conservative politics and freemasonry.
On Friday, the six-foot-tall Breivik accosted a group of youth on the Utoya island posing as a policeman conducting a security check. Surviving witnesses said he opened fire indiscriminately at hundreds of youths participating in a camp after screaming aloud that he wanted to kill all of them.
At least 84 people were killed on the island alone according to authorities. Another seven people were killed when a bomb ripped through a building in capital Oslo, near the Prime Minister’s office. More than 90 people were also injured in the bomb blast. Police say initial findings showed Breivik was behind the twin attacks.
He was dressed in a policeman's uniform but Norwegian police confirmed that he did not work for the police.
According to Norwegian TV2, Breivik had established right-wing credentials. Also, Expressen, a Swedish news site, said Breivik was an ultra nationalist, and had posted anti-Muslim writings on right-wing forums. According to UK's Daily Mail, police said the massacre was the work of a man with extreme right wing views who hated Muslims.
Though Internet postings of the attacker betrayed deep-tooted hatred for Muslims, the real motivation behind the massacre could not yet be established, according to national police chief Sveinung Sponheim, who spoke to public broadcaster NRK. Norway is home to about 150,000 Muslims.
It also emerged that there was a Twitter account that could be traced to the attacker. He had posted a quote from John Stuart Mill, which was as follows: One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests. The tweet was made on July 17.
This could possibly be fodder for speculation that the attacker was a demented, narcissistic killer who was misguided by the notion of a single person being able to change the world.
Initially the suspicion was focused on the Islamic radicals of various hues, as there has been simmering anger among them over Norway's increasing military presence in Muslim nations. Following the attack, a radical Islamist organization calling itself ‘Helpers of the Global Jihad’ claimed responsibility for the attack and warned that more such attacks were in the offing.