Norway killer boasts of more ‘solo martyr cells’

THE Norwegian mass-killer Anders Behring Breivik claims he is part of a network of up to 80 “solo martyr cells” of people wanting to overthrow Western governments that tolerate Islam.
Only hours before the attacks on Friday that killed at least 93 people, Mr Breivik emailed a 1500-page “manifesto” to 5700 people.
Intelligence forces are now investigating whether he had accomplices. Fears of copycat crimes are rising.
Scotland Yard is examining Mr Breivik’s claims that he began his “crusade” against “the Islamic colonisation of Europe” after meeting other right-wing extremists in London in 2002. In his manifesto he said any member of a political group that had allowed Muslims to migrate deserved death for being “multiculturalist traitors”.
The manifesto says the meeting called itself the “European Military Order and Criminal Tribunal” of the Knights Templar. British authorities have noted increased internet chat by a group using that name.
The original Knights Templar was a military organisation during the Crusades, the religious wars Christians fought to wrest control of the Holy Land from Muslim hands.
The manifesto has raised questions about why authorities failed to detect Mr Breivik’s preparations and has triggered a debate about whether Europe has been too relaxed about the threat of right-wing extremism.
The manifesto, entitled 2083: A European Declaration of Independence, documents his meticulous planning starting in 2002.
Mr Breivik crowed that police had failed to identify him as a suspect. After his arrest he told them he acted alone but they are investigating witness statements that refer to more than one gunman.
A spokeswoman for the public prosecutor’s office refused to comment on whether police were seeking accomplices.
Mr Breivik was expected to plead not guilty at a custody hearing overnight, despite having confessed to the bombing and the massacre. His lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told the Norwegian broadcaster NRK: “He thought it was gruesome having to commit these acts, but in his head they were necessary.”
Mr Lippestad has said Mr Breivik wants to wear a uniform to the hearing and for the session to be public. He had written that trials could provide a “propaganda base”.
But the hearing is to be closed. The court will be asked to double the length of time Mr Breivik can be held in custody to eight weeks.
During questioning, Mr Breivik said he had intended to shoot the former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland on the island of Utoya earlier in the afternoon but he was delayed, the Aftenposten newspaper reported, citing police sources.
The director of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King’s College London, John Bew, said there had been a lack of focus on right-wing extremism, with research on Islamism often taking precedence.
“We have looked at lone wolves in relation to Islamism but I think we haven’t taken far-right extremism seriously enough,” Dr Bew said.
Meanwhile, 100 Red Cross volunteers in 32 boats are helping police in the search for up to five people who remain missing on Utoya.
First published in the Sydney Morning Herald.