Norway’s police intelligence unit PST (Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste) has been flooded with around 700 tips from the public at large since the July 22 terrorist attacks. The confessed terrorist’s mother, meanwhile, can finally return to the flat she once shared with her son, if she so wishes.
Erik Haugland, who’s leading PST’s investigation into the attacks that left 77 persons dead, told newspaper Aftenposten on Friday that the stream of tips from the public has been “large,” amounting to “circa 700” at present. Haugland said they include concrete tips connected to the attacks and to people connected to confessed terrorist Anders Behring Breivik.
They also offer information on persons that some members of the public have deemed suspicious, along with information about people believed to have right-wing extremist views. Breivik holds such views, and has said he bombed Norway’s government headquarters in Oslo and carried out a massacre on the island of Utøya to launch a war against the political powers that allow creation of multi-cultural societies.
Calling in reinforcements
So many tips have poured in to PST directly, or been passed on from local police districts around Norway, that PST hasn’t yet managed to address them all, reports Aftenposten. PST has sent some over to the Oslo Police District, which has scores of officers probing the attacks and their aftermath, and some of the tips are being followed up “operationally,” meaning specific persons are contacted and questioned.
Those working at PST headquarters in Oslo have also called in reinforcements from around the country to help sort through the tips and obtain a better overview of the anti-Islamic movement in Norway of which Breivik was a part.
Trying to pinpoint threats
The goal is to identify persons who can pose a threat to society. Haugland said the main focus for the Oslo Police District is what happened leading up to July 22, while PST’s focus is from July 22 and onwards.
“To understand the future we need to understand the past,” Haugland told Aftenposten. “We must find out how he (Breivik) ended up as he was on July 22, to predict anything about the future.”
Haugland said the newly appointed July 22 Commission investigating the response to the attacks and PST’s own evaluation will determine “whether we should have discovered Behring Breivik” before he carried out his attacks. “As far as the danger of copy-cats, the danger that people can let themselves be inspired will always be there,” Haugland said.
Mother’s apartment released
Police, meanwhile, have finished their examination of the apartment in the Skøyen district of Oslo where Breivik’s mother lived for many years, and which the 32-year-old Breivik shared with her until his recent move to the farm in Hedmark County where he built his bomb. Aftenposten reported that police have now released the apartment, meaning Breivik’s mother can regain possession.
She’s been living at an undisclosed address in Norway and has been called in for questioning, again as early as last week, confirmed prosecutor Christian Hatlo. He wouldn’t detail what sorts of items have been seized from her home, nor reveal the content of her sessions with police investigators.
She was divorced from Breivik’s father, a retired Norwegian diplomat who moved to France, and it’s been reported that Breivik had little contact with his father over the years. His mother has received sympathy and concern from many Norwegians and Hatlo said the police “have responsibility for her safety.” He wouldn’t detail security measures around her or say whether she intended to move back to the apartment at Skøyen.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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