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Suspect in Norway mosque attack charged with terror

Associated Press

Copenhagen, Denmark – A Norwegian man suspected of killing his stepsister and then storming an Oslo mosque with firearms “with the intention to kill as many Muslims as possible” was formally charged Monday with murder and terror.

Philip Manshaus was overpowered inside the Al-Noor Islamic Center mosque in suburban Oslo in August. He fired six shots but didn’t hit anyone. One person was slightly injured when they jumped on Manshaus inside the mosque and held him until police arrived.

The prosecution says Manshaus, 22, is suspected of killing his 17-year-old stepsister, Johanne Zhangjia Ihle-Hansen, by shooting her four times – three in the head and one in the chest – with a hunting rifle at their home in the Oslo suburb of Baerum.

Suspected gunman Philip Manshaus appears in court, in Oslo, Norway on Aug. 12, 2019.

Shortly after that, Manshaus drove to a nearby mosque where three men were preparing for Eid al-Adha celebrations. He wore a helmet with a video camera attached and a bulletproof vest, according to the charge sheet obtained by The Associated Press.

Armed with a hunting rifle and a shotgun, Manshaus fired four shots with the rifle at a glass door before he was overpowered by one of the men in the mosque at the time, Muhammad Rafiq. During the scuffle, Manshaus fired two more shots but no one was hit.

A trial is scheduled to start May 7 in Oslo.

Norwegian media have reported that Manshaus was inspired by shootings in March 2019 in New Zealand, where a gunman targeted two mosques, killing 51 people, and in August 2019 in El Paso, Texas, where an assailant targeted Hispanics and left at least 22 dead.

Norway’s domestic security agency PST said it had a “vague” tip about Manshaus a year before the Aug. 19 shooting, but it was not enough to act on because they had no information about any “concrete plans” of attack.