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ANDERS BEHRING BREIVIK

Prof ‘insinuates’ Israeli part in July massacre

The head of the Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO) has rushed to distance himself from an article written by one of his staff members appearing to implicate Israel in the July 22nd massacre that left 77 people dead.

Prof 'insinuates' Israeli part in July massacre
Photo: Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO)

PRIO director Kristian Berg Harpviken told magazine Minerva that Professor Ola Tunander’s article left him with a feeling of “considerable unease”.

Harpviken was also dismayed with what he viewed as a serious lapse in judgment on behalf of Nytt Norsk Tidsskrift, a multidisciplinary peer review journal, for agreeing to publish the contentious text in its latest issue.

In his article, Tunander seeks to discover what might have driven confessed killer Anders Behring Brevik to set off a car bomb outside government offices in Norway before gunning down 69 people at a summer camp for young Labour Party supporters.

He reaches the conclusion that terrorist acts of such magnitude are seldom possible without the involvement of state forces, “and we can’t rule out that being the case this time too.”

In the midst of a web of alternative theories, Tunander lays out a “simple chronology” detailing the fractious diplomatic relationship between Norway and Israel in the months before the massacre, with Oslo indicating it would be willing to recognize a Palestinian state.

On two occasions, the Sweden-born professor notes the significance of the date of the attacks.

First, he travels back to 1973, when members of the Israeli spy agency Mossad were arrested on July 22nd after a botched operation in which they assassinated the wrong person on Norwegian soil.

He also calls to mind the bombing of the King David Hotel in Jerusalem by Zionist paramilitary group Irgun, which took place on July 22nd 1946.

“We have discussed the right-wing extremist Israeli and Judeo-Christian side of Breivik’s network, Israel’s interest in disciplining Norway, and Israel’s celebration of bomb attacks. In this respect, Breivik’s attack appears to resemble a new King David Hotel attack: July 22nd,” he writes.

Tunander told Norwegian news agency NTB it was unfair to conclude from his article, as for example writer Øyvind Strømmen has done, that he wished to link Israel to the worst atrocity in Norway’s peacetime history.

“Why he wishes to interpret the article that way is something he’ll have to answer himself,” said Tunander.

Writing in Minerva, Strømmen said there was little doubt as to the intentions of the 63-year-old academic.

“Does he insinuate that Israel was behind July 22nd, or was in some way involved? The answer, unfortunately, is yes,” he writes.

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BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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