String of stabbings spreads to Oslo

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UPDATED: Three persons were stabbed on board an Oslo tram Thursday morning,  just a day after other stabbing incidents in Porsgrunn and Namsos, one of them fatal. The Oslo victims were all taken to hospital but none had life-threatening injuries. Two men were arrested, and one has since confessed.

Traffic had cleared and trams were running as usual less than an hour after the stabbings on board a tram at Solli Plass in Oslo on Thursday. PHOTO: Views and News

Police and ambulance crews arrived on the scene quickly after the tram’s conductor sent out a call for help around 10:30am. The stabbings occurred on board a Jar-bound tram at Solli Plass in the city’s affluent Frogner district, where many foreign embassies are located.

All three victims were employees of the public transit system and on board to check the validity of passengers’ tickets, according to Cato Asperud of transit agency Oslotrikken.

“It occurred during an ordinary ticket control,” Asperud told dagbladet.no. “A man suddenly pulled out a knife and started waving it around on the tram before he went on the attack.”

Asperud said three of the four ticket monitors on board were injured. Their injuries weren’t serious, but all were taken to local hospitals.

The tram conductor himself restrained one of the suspects in the case and police arrested him at the scene. An alleged accomplice, described as around 190 centimeters tall, heavy-set and wearing workclothes with a backback, left the scene, spurring a massive manhunt. Police sought tips from the public, but by early afternoon the suspect had turned himself in to police at a downtown station.

Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reported on Friday that the two men are from Cuba and Chile, 35 and 45 years old respectively, but the older man can’t be tied to the stabbing. He claimed, and witnesses confirmed, that he left the tram before the stabbing occurred. The 35-year-old, however, has acknowledged the stabbing and would appear at a custody hearing on Saturday. Police remained uncertain of his identity, or his residence status in Norway.

Namsos victim died
Meanwhile, in Namsos, a woman living at a public housing complex for persons with special needs was stabbed in her own residence on Wednesday by an unknown assailant. The victim, age 36, was rushed to hospital, first in Namsos and then by helicopter to St Olavs Hospital in Trondheim, but she died of her injuries on Thursday.

Police initially arrested another woman at the complex but later released her after questioning by investigators for the Nord-Trøndelag Police District. Police found a knife at the scene that’s believed to be the murder weapon, and the national crime unit Kripos was called in to assist in the murder probe.

A woman in her 50s, also a resident of the housing complex, has since been arrested and charged in the fatal stabbing. Both the alleged assailant and the victim suffered mental health problems and the murder suspect was in the custody of medical personnel while the investigation continued.

Another attacker posed as delivery man
Earlier on Wednesday, a young woman was attacked and stabbed by a man who rang her doorbell at her home in Porsgrunn, on the coast about two hours southwest of Oslo. The woman told police she had no idea who her attacker was, but that he’d said he had a package to deliver and was dressed in clothing resembling a postal uniform.

He ran off after attacking her with a knife. She was treated for what police described as minor injuries to her hand and throat.

The incident was nonetheless considered serious and under investigation by the Telemark Police District.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund

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