A man has opened fire in locations including a queer bar, ahead of the annual Pride parade in the capital, Oslo.
Published On 25 Jun 2022
At least two people have been killed and 14 others wounded in shootings at a popular gay bar and in nearby streets in Norway’s capital Oslo, police said, as the city was gearing up for an annual Pride parade.
Norwegian police said on Saturday that they were treating the deadly shootings as a “terrorist attack”.
“The police are investigating the events as a terrorist act,” said a police statement. A suspect was arrested after the shootings, which occurred at around 1:00am local time (2300 GMT Friday) in three locations, including a gay bar in central Oslo.
“Now everything indicates that there was only one person who committed this act,” police spokesman Tore Barstad told a press briefing earlier.
It was not immediately clear what the motive for the attack was. Oslo is due to hold its annual Pride parade later on Saturday, just months after Norway marked 50 years since the abolition of a law that criminalised gay sex.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere said in a statement to Norwegian news agency NTB that what happened was a “terrible and deeply shockin2 attack on innocent people”.
“We don’t know yet know what is behind this terrible act, but to the queer people who are afraid and in mourning, I want to say that we stand together with you,” he said.
Among the 14 wounded, eight were taken to hospital and six others were taken care of by a medical service.
Heavily armed police equipped with bulletproof vests and helmets were patrolling the scene of the shootings. Alongside the popular London Pub, shooting took place near the Herr Nilsen jazz club and a takeaway food outlet.
A woman who saw the incident told the Verdens Gang newspaper the assailant “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.”
Olav Roenneberg, a journalist from Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.
“I saw a man arrive at the site with a bag. He picked up a weapon and started shooting,” Roenneberg told NRK. “First I thought it was an air gun. Then the glass of the bar next door was shattered and I understood I had to run for cover.”
Police are considering the effect of the incident on the staging of Oslo’s Pride march, which is due to take place on Saturday afternoon.
“Police are in contact with the organisers of the Pride event this Saturday. There will be a continuous assessment of what measures police should take to protect that event and whether this incident has a connection to Pride at all,” Barstad told reporters.
Norway, where mass shootings are a rare occurrence, was the scene of bloody attacks on July 22, 2011, when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people.
In October, a man known to have mental health issues confessed to killing five people in a bow-and-arrow attack in the southern part of the country.
Al Jazeera and news agencies