Suspect in Norway mosque attack charged with terrorism, murder
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Suspect in Norway mosque attack charged with terrorism, murder

Prosecution says Philip Manshaus killed 17-year-old stepsister before opening fire at nearby Muslim house of worship

Terror suspect Philip Manshaus gives a Nazi salute as he appears for his hearing at a courthouse in Oslo on 7 October, 2019. (Heiko Junge / NTB Scanpix / AFP)
Terror suspect Philip Manshaus gives a Nazi salute as he appears for his hearing at a courthouse in Oslo on 7 October, 2019. (Heiko Junge / NTB Scanpix / AFP)

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.

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.

A picture taken on August 10, 2019 shows medics with a stretcher near the al-Noor Islamic Center mosque where a gunman armed with multiple weapons went on a shooting spree in the Oslo suburb of Baerum. (Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix/AFP)

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.

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