Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik, who slaughtered as many as 76 people in an Oslo bombing and a shooting spree at an island teen camp last Friday, is now claiming he has accomplices.
The BBC reported this afternoon that Breivik made the claim during his first court appearance, which took place today. The 32-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charges, although he has admitted that he carried out the killings.
A fertilizer bomb went off in the Norwegian capital Oslo, killing at least seven people, and a shooting massacre followed in a political youth camp on a 26-acre island of Utoya, about 20 miles from central Oslo.
“[Breivik] is said to be linked to far-right groups and to have spent years planning the attacks – the worst since WWII,” says the BBC.
CNN says authorities are still trying to piece together exactly what happened.
“A manifesto, purportedly written by a man of that name and posted online the day of the attacks, signals his intent to be part of a ‘European civil war’ and his distaste for Norway’s leadership,” says the broadcaster’s online report.
Euronewsreported today that Breivik “posted a video on the internet hours before last Friday’s atrocities. In it, among other things, Breivik claims the crusading order of the Knights Templar has reformed as an armed movement for indigenous rights.”
The BBC says Breivik – who has declared his actions to be a “shock signal” to the people of Norway – will be held in custody for at least eight weeks. The first four will be in total isolation.
“Judge Heger said police must be able to proceed with the investigation into Mr Breivik’s claims without the accused being able to interfere,” says the BBC.
“Mr Breivik has been charged under the criminal law for acts of terrorism. The charges include the destabilisation of vital functions of society, including government, and causing serious fear in the population. The judge said Mr Breivik had admitted carrying out the attacks but had not pleaded guilty to the charges.”
The 35-minute court hearing was closed to the press and the public.
The BBC story adds that police are looking into Breivik’s claim that he has “two more cells” working with him. Norwegian police, however, doubt the claims Breivik had help.
"We feel that the accused has fairly low credibility when it comes to this claim but none of us dare to be completely dismissive about it either," a source close to the investigation told Reuters.
Wartime allyEuronewsreports that Breivik claimed he wanted to prevent a Muslim takeover of Europe, “and wanted to give ‘a sharp signal to the people.’ He added he wanted to damage the Labour party and prevent it recruiting as a punishment, he said, for ‘treason’ against Norway for allowing mass immigration.”
The Guardian says UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said Britain will stand by its wartime ally.
The paper quotes Cameron as saying: “Everyone in Britain shares in the sorrow and the anger at the despicable killing which took place on Friday. Britain and Spain have both been victims of horrific acts of terrorism in the past and I know that both of us will be offering every support that we can to Norway in the days ahead.
“Britain has already provided police assistance and we will continue to offer our expertise and our moral support. Britain and Norway have been good allies and neighbours in very dark days before. We know that the resilience, the courage and the decency of our Norwegian friends will overcome this evil.”
See pictures and a timeline of terror in our earlier story.