A man has opened fire in a gay bar, among other things, before the annual Pride parade in the capital Oslo.
Shootings at a popular gay bar and nearby streets in the Norwegian capital Oslo have left at least two dead, and 14 injured, police said, as the city geared up for an annual Pride parade.
Norwegian police said on Saturday they were treating the deadly shooting as a “terrorist attack”.
“Police are investigating the events as an act of terrorism,” said a police statement. A suspect was arrested after the shooting, which occurred around 01:00 local time (2300 GMT Friday) at three locations, including a gay bar in central Oslo.
“Now everything points to the fact that only one person committed this act,” police spokesman Tore Barstad told a news conference earlier.
It was not immediately clear what the motive for the attack was. Oslo will hold its annual Pride parade later on Saturday, just months after Norway abolished 50 years ago a law criminalizing gay sex.
Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told the Norwegian news agency NTB that what happened was a “terrible and deeply shocking attack on innocent people”.
“We don’t know yet what is behind this terrible act, but to the strange people who are afraid and in mourning, I want to say that we stand with you,” he said.
Eight of the 14 injured were taken to hospital, and a medical service treated six others.
Heavily armed police, equipped with body armor and helmets, patrolled the shooting scene. In addition to the popular London Pub, shooting took place near the Herr Nilsen jazz club and takeaway.
A woman who saw the incident told Verdens Gang newspaper that the attacker “looked very determined about what he was aiming for. When I realized it was serious, I ran. There was a bleeding man on the floor.”
Olav Roenneberg, a journalist for the Norwegian public broadcaster NRK, said he witnessed the shooting.
“I saw a man arrive with a bag. He grabbed a weapon and started shooting,” Roenneberg told NRK. “At first I thought it was an air pistol. Then the glass of the bar next door broke, and I realized I had to take cover.”
Police are considering the effect of the incident on the staging of the Pride march in Oslo, which will take place on Saturday afternoon.
“Police are in contact with the organizers of the Pride event next Saturday. There will be ongoing assessments of what measures the police must take to protect that event and whether this incident has anything to do with Pride,” Barstad told reporters.
In Norway, where mass shootings are a rarity, there were bloody attacks on July 22, 2011, when right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people.
In October, a man with mental health problems confessed to killing five people in a bow and arrow attack in the country’s south.