While the country was on high alert, police went rushed to investigate an attack in a town 80 kilometers from Oslo.
OSLO - A man armed with a bow and arrow went on a rampage in a Norwegian town near Oslo on Wednesday, killing five people and injuring two others in the deadliest attack in Norway in a decade authorities said.
Police say they took a suspect into custody after the attack on Kongsberg, a town of 26,000 people in about 50 miles toin the south-west of Oslo. But the murders have left a country where killings are rare, and police generally unarmed, on edge, as Norwegians wait to find out what happened - and why.
“ The incident rocked us all, " said Prime Minister Erna Solberg. “The news is terrifying. I understand that people are afraid.
Authorities said they had not yet established a motive. "I insist that we do not know if it 's terror or not, " Ms. Solberg said.
A Deputy Police Chief Oyvind Aas said investigators were not looking for accomplices. "The information we have now, this person carried out these actions alone, " he told reporters.
The attack was started shortly after6 pm, when the assailant started to make his way through the center of town. Residents were urged to seek refuge inside. Half an hour later, according to police, the suspect was arrested.
The attack also mobilized officials and public services in the area. nationwide. Hospitals have been put on alert, as has the Department of Justice. Across the country, Norwegian police have been cleared to carry weapons "due to the serious Kongsberg incident," authorities said in a statement late Wednesday.
Officials described it as a precaution. "Police currently have no concrete indication that there is a change in the level of threat in the country ", iThe statement said.
The authorities did not immediately release any information. about the suspect.
"It is natural to consider this to be a terrorist event ", said the chief Aas at a press conference, adding that it was "too early to say for sure what the man's motivation is.
The assailant spread over a large part of the city, leaving investigators with a large crime scene to scour. A witness, Kjetil Stormark, who is the editor of a national security news site, said police secured a supermarket where part of the attack was said to have taken place and a section of 'a street.
Authorities said they were investigating whether another weapon, a knife, may also have been used in the attacks.
One stop An uniformed duty policeman was among those injured in the attack, authorities said.
Murder is rare in Norway. In a country of just over five million people, there were 31 murders in 2,020, mostly involving people who knew each other.
But Wednesday 's attack came just months after the Norwegians celebrated a grim anniversary: Ten years ago, the country suffered its worst attack since World War 2. In July 2011, a right-wing extremist detonated a bomb in Oslo and then sued a shootout at a political youth summer camp on the small island of Utoya. Dozens were killed.
Duringin the years since the massacre, Norway struggled to cope with the trauma and was forced to grapple with painful questions about what could cause an individual to stray so far from democratic principles which, along with income from fossil fuels, has given Norwegians one of the highest standards of living in the world.
While it was the worst episode of this kind in this largely peaceful country, a little over two years ago, a young man was accused of attempted murder after entering a mosque near Oslo armed and wearing a bulletproof vest and helmet. He was overpowered by a worshiper.
Norwegian authorities have expressed concern that not enough is being done to eradicate extremism from droite, especially among young people. In July, analysts from the country's intelligence services warned that a decade after the Utoya attack, there were young men and boys who idolized the shooter.
On Wednesday, as helicopters flew over Kongsberg and investigators made their way through the streets, residents expressed their horror and disbelief at their country, and this time their hometown, could be the target of such violence.
"This is a tragedy, completely terrible," said Mayor Kari Anne Sand . "This 's the kind of thing you think cannot happen in Kongsberg. Now we just have to deal with this in the best possible way.
Melissa Eddy contributed to the reports.