COPENHAGEN – A Norwegian man was arrested on Saturday after allegedly carrying out a shooting at a mosque in Baerum, a suburb of Oslo.
The purported assailant was the only person injured in the incident.
The detainee is a 20-year-old local resident of Norwegian ethnicity, a senior police official, Rune Skjold, said at a press conference.
Skjold, who told reporters that the suspect was questioned after receiving medical treatment but did not speculate on a possible motive, said without providing further information that the man was known to police and added that his online activity prior to the incident is under investigation.
Norwegian police received a call at 4:07 pm Saturday about a shooting inside the Al-Noor Islamic Center.
Skjokd said that when police arrived at the scene they found an individual who had been overpowered by people at the mosque.
Police, who have ruled out the possibility of multiple attackers, cordoned off the crime scene to facilitate the work of investigators.
Mosque director Irfan Mushtaq told Norwegian media that the perpetrator of the attack was wearing a helmet and a uniform and was carrying two handguns, adding that around six people were inside the place of worship at the time of the attack.
He said that a glass security door had been installed at the Al-Noor Islamic Center in the wake of attacks on two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, in March that left 51 dead and 49 injured.
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, for her part, expressed sympathy with those who were in the mosque on Saturday and others affected by the incident, saying it should be safe to visit mosques, churches and other places of worship in the country.
Solberg said it was too soon to speculate on a possible motive.
In a statement, a spokesman for the mosque, Ikhlaq Ahmad, expressed concern over the incident and said it brought to mind two massacres: the July 22, 2011, killing of 77 people in a bomb attack and a mass shooting at a summer camp of Norway’s largest political youth organization and the Christchurch bloodbath on March 15, 2019.
Both the perpetrator of the Norwegian massacre, Anders Behring Breivik, and the suspect in the Christchurch mass shooting attacks, Brenton Tarrant, expressed extreme anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim sentiments in manifestos.