Philip Manshaus appears in court after thwarted terrorist attack on Norway mosque


A Norwegian suspected of killing his stepsister and opening fire at a mosque near Oslo is suspected of a terrorist act and murder, police said Monday, allegations he rejects.

Eyewitnesses said Manshaus entered the al-Noor Islamic Centre with several guns, but was overpowered by a 65-year-old member of the mosque, who managed to wrestle away his weapons in the fight that followed.

It's believed the attack on the mosque is linked to another incident in which a "dead person" was found by police in the same suburb.

Oslo's acting chief of the police operation Rune Skjold said Sunday the investigation showed that the suspect appeared to hold "far-right" and "anti-immigrant" views.

Skjold said the suspect - a Norwegian citizen - had been charged with attempted murder in connection with the mosque attack and with murder after the young woman's body was found.

Philip Manshaus (R), who is suspected of an armed attack at Al-Noor Islamic Centre Mosque and killing his stepsister and his lawyer Unni Fries appear in court in Oslo, Norway, Aug. 12, 2019.

Rafiq's quick action helped avert an attack that brought back painful memories of the Christchurch shootings in New Zealand earlier this year, when a gunman attacked two mosques and killed 51 people during Friday prayers.

The attempted attack on al-Noor Islamic Center happened a day before Muslims around the world celebrate Eid al-Adha, one of the most important holidays on the Islamic calendar marking the end of the hajj pilgrimage. The police on Sunday said the woman was identified as the stepsister of the shooter.

Prime Minister Erma Solberg said that working against hate speech was a priority. Rafiq told the press on Sunday: "I'm thankful for all of the help and support I have received". "He started to fire towards the two other men", Rafiq told Reuters.

Rafiq suffered minor injuries, police said. Several shots were fired in the shooting, but no one was seriously injured.

Only three people were inside the mosque at the time of the attack.

Head of Norway's security police (PST) Hans Sverre Sjovold speaks at a news conference in Oslo, Norway, on August 12, 2019. "We are trying to combat this, but it's a challenge", she said.

The incident comes almost eight years after Norway's deadliest peacetime attack, when anti-Muslim neo-Nazi Anders Behring Breivik massacred 77 people at a camp.