Norwegian police said on Saturday that they were treating deadly shootings that killed two people near bars in central Oslo overnight as a “terrorist attack”.
“The police are investigating the events as a terrorist act,” said a police statement.
Oslo pride parade that was due to take place on Saturday was called off by organisers.
A suspect was arrested after the shootings, which occured at around 1:00 am local time (2300 GMT Friday) in three locations, including a gay bar in central Oslo.
Police reported two dead and 21 wounded, and said two weapons had been seized.
“Now everything indicates that there was only one person who committed this act,” police official Tore Barstad told a press briefing.
Norway’s domestic intelligence service PST, which is responsible for counter-terrorism, said Saturday that it was treating a deadly overnight shooting near a gay bar in Oslo as “an act of Islamist terrorism”.
The suspect who was arrested “has a long history of violence and threats” and has been on the PST’s radar “since 2015 in connection with concerns about his radicalisation” and membership “in an Islamist extremist network,” PST’s chief Roger Berg told a press conference.
#Breaking Several shots were fired outside the London pub in central Oslo. At least two people have been shot and killed. „I saw a man come to the place with a bag, he picked up a weapon and started firing“ said a witness. #oslo #skyting #massshooting #osloshooting #BreakingNews pic.twitter.com/jXgCfqkxDD
— 247TV (@247TV3) June 25, 2022
Norwegian media named the suspect as Zaniar Matapour, describing him as a father of Iranian Kurdish origin who arrived in Norway as a child.
Police received the first reports at 1:14 am and the suspect was arrested five minutes later, he said.
The shootings happened near the London Pub gay club, the Herr Nilsen jazz club and a takeaway food outlet.
Police officials gathered to consider the impact of the shooting on the staging of Oslo’s Pride march which was due to take place on Saturday afternoon. Organisers decided to cancel the march.
Heavily armed police equipped with bulletproof vests and helmets were patrolling the scene of the shootings.
“He looked very determined about where he was aiming. When I realised it was serious, I ran. There was a bleeding man lying on the ground,” a woman who saw the incident told the Verdens Gang newspaper.
Another witness quoted by the paper mentioned the use of an automatic weapon — which the police did not confirm — and described it as “a war zone”.
“There were a lot of injured people on the ground who had head injuries,” he said.
According to an NRK radio journalist present at the time of the shooting, the shooter arrived with a bag from which he pulled out a weapon and started firing.
Among the 14 wounded, eight were taken to hospital and six others were taken care of by a medical service.
“Some are described as seriously injured, others as more lightly injured,” said Barstad.
Norway, generally peaceful, was the scene of the July 22nd attacks in 2011 when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people.
He first detonated a bomb near the government headquarters in Oslo, killing eight people.
He then disguised himself as a policeman and travelled to a summer camp for left-wing youth on the island of Utoya, killing another 69 people — most of them teenagers.