Norway killer also wanted to bomb royal palace

Last Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 16:18

Oslo: Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik`s original plans for a terror attack was to bomb Oslo`s government district, the Labor Party`s office and a third target, possibly the royal palace, he told a court on Thursday.

"There would be three car bombs, followed by a firearm-based action," Breivik said, on the fourth day of his trial.

Breivik has confessed to setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters on July 22, and then opening fire at a Labor Party youth camp outside the capital. A total of 77 people were killed.

Questioned by prosecutors, Breivik said his original plan was to build three bombs. One would be placed at the government district and the second at the office of the governing Labor Party.

He had several options for the third target.

"I settled on the palace in a setting where the royal family wouldn`t be hurt," he said. "Most nationalists and cultural conservatives are supporters of the monarchy, including myself."

The anti-Muslim militant said the three bombs would be followed by several shooting massacres, if he survived. He decided against multiple bombs because building one was "much more difficult than I thought”.

Breivik thought he had only a slim chance of escaping Norway`s capital alive after setting off a bomb in the government district on July 22, he told a court on Thursday.

The anti-Muslim extremist said he had expected to be confronted by armed police when he left Oslo for a Labor Party youth camp on Utoya island, where he killed 69 people in a shooting massacre.

"I estimated the chances of survival as less than 5 percent," he said.

Police only cordoned off the area directly affected by the blast, and no one stopped Breivik as he drove to the island dressed in a homemade uniform and armed with a rifle and a handgun he said he had named after weapons used by Norse gods.

On the fourth day of his trial, Breivik entered the Oslo district court without the clenched-fist salute he had used in previous hearings. His lawyers had advised him against it after complaints by survivors of the massacre and relatives of victims.

Breivik has confessed to the attacks but rejects criminal guilt, saying he was acting to protect Norway and Europe by targeting left-wing political forces he claims have betrayed the country by opening it up to immigration.

The key issue of the trial is to establish whether he is criminally insane.

In his testimony, the 33-year-old Norwegian said he prepared for a firefight with police in Oslo by playing computer games, focusing on situations where he would be flanked by two commando teams. He said he played "Modern Warfare”, several hours a week, for 16 months starting in January 2010, primarily to get a feel for how to use rifle sights.

Breivik said he decided already in 2006 to carry out what he expected to be a "suicide" operation. First he took a "sabbatical year" fully devoted to play another computer game, "World of Warcraft”, for 16 hours a day.

Breivik said that cutting off social contact for a full year helped him prepare for the attacks, but the game-playing was "pure entertainment. It doesn`t have anything to do with July 22”.

Breivik has shown no remorse of the attacks. He calmly answers questions from prosecutors, except when they ask about the alleged anti-Muslim "Knights Templar" network he claims to belong to. Prosecutors say they don`t believe it exists.

When he smiled at one point during questioning on Wednesday, Prosecutor Svein Holden asked him how he thought the bereaved watching the proceedings in court would react to that.

"They probably react in a natural way, with horror and disgust," Breivik said. He said he smiled because he knew where Holden was going with his line of questioning.

The main point of his defence is to avoid an insanity ruling, which would deflate his political arguments. He repeatedly accuses prosecutors of trying to "ridicule" him by highlighting portions of a rambling, 1,500-page manifesto he posted before the attacks.

In it — and in a shortened version he read to the court on Tuesday — he said the "Knights Templar" will lead a revolt against "multiculturalist" governments around Europe, with the aim of deporting Muslims.

If found sane, Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to psychiatric care for as long as he`s considered ill.

The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

Bureau Report



First Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012 - 14:03

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