Norway grieves after worst post-war tragedy

The mastermind behind the worst peacetime massacre in Norway’s history is to appear in court to explain why he carried out a twin terror attack that claimed 93 lives.

The court is expected to keep Anders Behring Breivik, the main suspect in the twin attack, in custody.

The 32-year-old was charged on Saturday with terrorism and faces up to 21 years in prison, which is the maximum penalty for a crime in Norway.

On Monday the northern European country is observing mourning for the victims of the terror attack. It starts with a minute of silence, after which king Harald V of Norway and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will be the first to sign a book of condolences.

Neighboring Sweden is also commemorating the victims of Friday’s massacre in a gesture of solidarity. People have been flocking to Norway’s embassy in Moscow over the weekend, laying flowers and lighting candles in sympathy over the national tragedy.

Meanwhile Norwegian police have explained why it took so long for law enforcers to arrive on Utoya Island after Breivik started shooting at participants of the youth Labor Party gathering there. They said the motor of the local police department’s only boat had stalled.

Meanwhile the special antiterrorist force had no helicopter available and had to travel from Oslo by car and then requisition pleasure boats to get to their destination. It gave the criminal some 90 minutes to continue his shooting rampage on the island, in which he killed 86 people and wounded more than 60. Breivik surrendered to the police two minutes after their arrival.

Breivik is also suspected of planting a bomb near the prime minister’s office in central Oslo, which killed seven people and wounded dozens more. The man claims to have prepared and perpetrated the double attack alone, but police and some security experts doubt it, citing the scale of the operation and reports by some witnesses of the shooting at Utoya, who said they saw at least one accomplice.

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