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Oslo Shooting During Pride Festival

A 42-year-old man opened fire in Oslo’s night-life district early Saturday, killing two and injuring more than 20 people. He has been arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder, and terrorism after the shooting. The Norwegian security service called it an “Islamist terror act” during the annual LGBTQ+ Pride festival.


The gunman, a Norwegian citizen originally from Iran, was already known by the intelligence services since 2015 as a radicalized Islamist of an unspecified Islamist network. And he was questioned in May but was not a threat at that time, according to Norway’s prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre.


The shootings started around 01:15 local time on Saturday, and they took place in and near the London Pub, a popular place for the LGBTQ+ community, the Herr Nielsen Jazz Club, and another pub. According to the eyewitnesses, the man took out a gun and started shooting, killing two men, one in his 50s and the other in his 60s. Ten of the more than 20 people injured were in serious condition. The man was quickly detained minutes after starting his rampage and two weapons were found at the crime scene, including a fully automatic gun.


The Norwegian Police Security Service raised the terror alert level from moderate to extraordinary after the attack.


Although the official parade of the LGBTQ+ pride festival, which was planned to take place on Saturday, was canceled due to police advice, hundreds of people marched near the place of attack, saying, “We’re here, we’re queer, we won’t disappear!”. Rainbow flags and flowers were laid near the sealed-off crime scene.


Also, the prime minister of Norway was joined by Prince Haakon, his wife Princess Mette-Marit, and their child Prince Sverre Magnus of the royal family of Norway, to lay roses near the London Pub. Prince Haakon said, “We must protect the right in Norway to love whomever we want”.


According to the attacker’s lawyer John Christian Elden, he has declined to be interrogated by police, he has not denied the attack and he has not given any reason. Elden stated that it was too early to conclude whether it was a hate crime or a terrorist attack.


Police attorney Christian Hatlo also suggested being cautious not to jump to any conclusion and stated that they had to look closer to determine if the attacker targeted specifically the LGBTQ+ community. He said that the medical history of the attacker was being investigated, and there would also be a psychiatric evaluation as a part of the investigation process.


The attack was condemned all over the world. The European Union Commission President Ursula von der Leyen tweeted “No-one should have to fear for their life or well-being simply for who they are.” John Kirby, a spokesperson for the White House’s National Security Council, said, “We're all horrified by the mass shooting in Oslo today targeting the LGBTQI+ community there and, our hearts obviously go out to the all the families of the victims, the people of Norway, which is a tremendous ally, and of course the LGBTQI+ community there and around the world.”


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Tags: #pride #LGBTQ+ #terrorism #norway #shooting #oslo



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