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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Accused Norway shooter to appear in court Monday

The man blamed for Friday's twin terror attacks in Norway is due to make his first appearance in court.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, admits carrying out a massacre on an island youth camp and a bombing in the capital Oslo in which at least 93 people died.

Norwegian police prosecutor Viola Bjelland, who spoke to the BBC from the Oslo police station where Anders Breivik is detained, said he had been co-operative during questioning.

Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client has confessed to both attacks but has denied criminal responsibility. Lippestad said his client wants the proceedings to be open when he appears in court "because he wants to explain himself."

CTV's Omar Sachedina, reporting from Norway, said Sunday night Breivik is expected to plead not guilty despite admitting to his involvement in the attacks. If convicted, he could spend up to 21 years in jail. Norway does not execute convicted criminals, and its justice system does not have a life sentence, Sachedina said.

Meanwhile, doctors on Sunday said the shooter may have used special bullets that explode inside the body during the shooting rampage at an island retreat.

The chief surgeon treating many of the shooting victims said it is his belief that the shooter used bullets that explode inside victims and cause massive internal injuries.

Dr. Colin Poole of Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss, northwest of Oslo, said surgeons who have treated a total of 16 victims have failed to recover bullets.

"These bullets more or less exploded inside the body," Poole told The Associated Press. "It's caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories."

The bullets are lighter and can be fired over longer distances with better accuracy, according to ballistics experts quoted by AP. Hunters of smaller animals, as well as air marshals, most commonly use the bullets.

Police have not released the identities of any of the victims. Investigators, however, did reveal on Sunday that one of the first victims in the island shooting was an off-duty police officer who was hired by the camp directors to provide private security.

Police also said there are still people unaccounted for at both the shooting site and the government building that was bombed. Officials were at both sites Sunday searching for more victims.

Investigators said the massacre could have been far worse, as the shooter still had "a considerable amount" of ammunition for both guns he was carrying when he surrendered.

Both police and Lippestad revealed Sunday that Breivik had published a 1,500-page manifesto online that decries Muslim immigration to Europe. He also said "indigenous Europeans" who have accepted Muslims into society would be punished for the "treasonous acts."

"He wanted a change in society and, from his perspective, he needed to force through a revolution," Lippestad told Norwegian public broadcaster NRK. "He wished to attack society and the structure of society."

Police said they are analyzing the document, and continue to investigate the theory that, despite Breivik's claims he acted alone, a second shooter was involved in the attack on the island.

On a busy day for investigators, police also carried out raids in what appeared to be a residential neighbourhood in eastern Oslo on Sunday.

Police spokesperson Henning Holtaas said police did not find any weapons or explosives, and did not make any arrests.

As investigators continued probing the tragedy, mourners packed Oslo Cathedral to honour its victims.

Norway's King Harald V and Queen Sonja, as well as Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, joined the mourners, many of whom spilled out into the streets and solemnly stood under a steady rain.

"Many of us knew someone who died," Stoltenberg told mourners. "It's a national tragedy."

The service, which had a "sorrow and hope" theme, left both the king and queen in tears while mourners held each other and wept in the streets long after it was over.

After the service, the royal couple surveyed the damage at the bombing site, and visited victims at Ringriket Hospital.
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