A 42-year-old Norwegian citizen of Iranian origin was detained minutes after embarking on a shooting spree at the London Pub, killing two and injuring more than 20, ten seriously. The attack occurred as Oslo was preparing to celebrate its first Pride event following Covid lock-downs.

King Harald of Norway, 85, was among the many who condemned the atrocity, saying he and the royal family were “devastated” by what police believe was “an act of extreme Islamist terrorism.”

He is reported by Reuters as saying that he and the royal family were “devastated” by the attack in the normally peaceful city. The Nordic nation of 5.4 million has lower crime rates than many Western countries.

We must stand together and defend our values: freedom, diversity and respect for each other.

—King Harald of Norway
Image via YouTube

An organisation called Humans of Oslo, founded by Iffit Qureshi, above, posted the following message on its Facebook page:

Today is a sad day for Norway. Our hearts go out to all those affected and particularly the LGBTQ community which is shaken by this despicable, cowardly and senseless attack.

Humans of Oslo was started up in July 2012, one year after the July 22, 2011 terrorist attacks by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik, who killed 77 people.

At the time, there weren’t any projects in Oslo or Norway which focused on diversity from an international perspective and which portrayed a true picture of the capital’s inhabitants.

Qureshi, a photographer, decided to embark on a project that would give the people of Oslo a sense of pride in the city and teach them about the folk they share a common space with.

Suspect known to police

This morning’s shooting took place just months after Norway marked 50 years since the abolition of a law that criminalised gay sex. The suspect was known to authorities, including for violence of a less severe nature, police said.

The BBC reports that a 42-year-old man has been arrested and charged with murder, attempted murder and terrorist acts after the shooting. There was gunfire at after midnight in three locations including the London Pub, which posted the following message on Facebook:

Tonight’s shooting is absolutely horrific and pure evil. Our thoughts go to the dead, injured and relatives. All employees in London are safe and physically unharmed. Take care of each other during this time

Oslo Pride reacted to the atrocity with a the following statement from Inger Kristin Haugsevje, the leader of the organisation.

This year’s Pride Parade was to be a long awaited celebration of love and diversity in the streets of Oslo … We encourage all of Norway to show solidarity and celebrate Pride at home, in their neighbourhoods and towns.

Oslo Pride has received clear advice and a recommendation from the police that the parade, Pride Park, and any other event in relation to Oslo Pride be cancelled. Oslo Pride therefore implores anyone who had planned to participate in or watch the parade, not to show up. All events in relation to Oslo Pride have been cancelled.

We will soon be proud and visible again, but today, we will share our Pride celebrations from home.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere called it a “terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people”.

Two weapons were retrieved at the crime scene by the police, one of them was an automatic gun. In a press release, the police said it will temporarily arm all its emergency staff following the attack.

A woman told the Verdens Gang newspaper that the gunman had taken careful aim at his targets.

When I understood that it was serious, I ran. There was a man covered in blood motionless on the floor.

Another man told the newspaper he had seen a lot of people on the ground with head wounds.

Norway’s Justice Minister Emilie Enger Mehl said the incident had shaken the country.

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