Norway mosque attack suspect smiles in court

Philip Manshaus appeared scratched and bruised

Monday, August 12, 2019

A suspected gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on a Norwegian mosque has smiled but refused to speak as he faced court in Oslo.

Philip Manshaus is separately accused of murdering his teenage stepsister, and police said he was arrested after he entered a mosque waving and firing a gun.

They said he planned to kill those inside but was neutralised by worshippers preparing for Eid al-Adha celebrations, leaving only one person with minor injuries.

After his arrest officers entered his nearby home and found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister.

The head of Norway’s domestic security agency, Hans Sverre Sjoevold, said police received a “vague” tip about the suspect a year ago, but did not act because there was no information about “concrete plans” for an attack.

He said police receive many tips every day and there was nothing to suggest “imminent terror planning”.

Defence lawyer Unni Fries said the 21-year-old suspect “will use his right not to explain himself for now”.

She declined to comment on local media reports that Manshaus was inspired by recent mass shootings in New Zealand and Texas that left a total of 73 people dead.

A major Norway newspaper has reported that on the day of the attack Manshaus wrote online he had been “chosen” by “Saint (Brenton) Tarrant”, the Christchurch gunman.

One of the locations targeted in the New Zealand attack was the Al Noor Mosque, which bears a similar name to the Al-Noor Islamic Centre that was allegedly targeted in Norway.

Norway’s prime minister Erna Solberg has called the attempted assault a “direct attack on Norwegian Muslims”.

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