Norwegian media has been flooded by images of a tall young man, with mid-length blonde hair and bright blue eyes since early Saturday. They are pictures of Anders Behrin Breivik, who has been identified by local media as the number one suspect in Friday’s deadly attacks in Norway’s capital Oslo and its neighbouring Utoeya island, which left a total of at least 77 dead.
Police arrested the 32-year-old “ethnic” Norwegian on Friday in connection with the two attacks. Although the police at first refused to confirm his identity, Breivik’s lawyer, Geir Lippestad, revealed on Sunday that his client had admitted responsibility for the “cruel” but “necessary” acts. Norway’s acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim later said that the suspect claimed to have acted alone.
In the wake of the tragedy, the Norwegian television station TV2
reported that Breivik had close ties to right-wing extremists and possessed several guns registered under his name. Meanwhile, Sponheim said the suspect “had certain anti-Muslim tendencies”, in an interview with the state-owned broadcasting company, NRK, before saying that “it is too early to say if this was a motive for the act”.
Another police official, Roger Andresen, described the suspect as “fundamentalist Christian”.
Police performed an overnight search of the suspect’s long-time former residence in western Oslo, as well as his new home near Rena, in the north of the capital.
Aside from public tax records, which show that Breivik earned no income in 2009 and close to nothing in the years before, very little was known at first about the alleged perpetrator of the worst violence to hit Norway since World War II.
Internet reveals traces of Breivik
The search for answers eventually led to the Internet, where Norwegian media were able to dig up comments Breivik had posted on the site www.document.no
, expressing nationalist viewpoints and hostile attitudes toward a multicultural society.
Local media also quickly identified what they believe to be Breivik’s Twitter account
, where he allegedly quoted British philosopher John Stuart Mill on July 17, writing in English, “One person with a belief is equal to a force of 100,000 who have only interests”.
Breivik’s Facebook page, which has since been made unavailable, revealed that the former business school student described himself as conservative, Christian and single. His interests included hunting and games such as “World of Warcraft” and “Modern Warfare 2”. He also presented himself as the head of Breivik Geofarm, an organic farm that could given him access to certain chemical products used to make explosives.
According to the spokesperson for a Norwegian agricultural supply company, Breivik did in fact order six tonnes of fertiliser in May, but called the purchase “a relatively standard order”.
Although Breivik’s personal Facebook page has been taken down in the wake of Friday’s deadly attacks, the social networking site now boasts several others using his name, some of which call for Breivik to be condemned to death.