Officers first reported that a victim had been shot, but later clarified one person had sustained “minor injuries” and that it was unclear if they were gunshot wounds. Police said the suspect appeared to have acted on his own. “It is a Norwegian young man, with a Norwegian background. He lives in the vicinity,” Oslo police spokesman Rune Skjold had told a press conference earlier Saturday. Skjold added that the suspect had been known to police before the incident but could not be described as someone with a “criminal background”.
Norway was the scene of one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when 77 people were killed by Anders Behring Breivik. “One of our members has been shot by a white man with a helmet and uniform,” Irfan Mushtaq, head of the mosque, told local media. Mushtaq said that the man had carried multiple weapons, but that he had been subdued by a member of the mosque.
Mushtaq himself had arrived at the scene shortly after being alerted about the gunman, and had gone to the back of the building while waiting for police to arrive. “Then I see that there are cartridges scattered and blood on the carpets, and I see one of our members is sitting on the perpetrator, covered in blood,” Mushtaq told Norwegian newspaper VG. He said the man who apparently overpowered the shooter was 75 years old and had been reading the Koran after a prayer session. According to Mushtaq, the mosque had not received any threats ahead of the shooting.
The attack took place on the eve of the Muslim celebration of Eid Al-Adha, marking the end of the Muslim pilgrimage Hajj. Police said Saturday they would be sending out more officers so that those celebrating would “be as safe as possible”.