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Norwegian man appears in court accused of mosque terror attack

Philip Manshaus is suspected of killing his stepsister and then storming an Oslo mosque with firearms last year.

Defendant Philip Manshaus appears in court on charges of murder and terrorism.
Defendant Philip Manshaus appears in court on charges of murder and terrorism.
Image: Lise Aserud/NTB scanpix via AP

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” has appeared in court charged with murder and terrorism offences.

Philip Manshaus appeared at a court west of Norway’s capital and denied the charges read by prosecutor Johan Oeverberg, the Norwegian news agency NTB said. No information has emerged about his likely line of defence.

Manshaus was overpowered inside the Al-Noor Islamic Centre mosque in suburban Oslo on 10 August last year. 

He fired six shots but did not hit anyone. One person was slightly injured when he 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 three times in the head and once in the chest with a hunting rifle at their home in the Oslo suburb of Baerum.

Shortly after that, prosecutors say 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.

They say Manshaus was armed with a hunting rifle and a shotgun and fired four shots with the rifle at a glass door before he was overpowered by one of the men in the mosque, Muhammad Rafiq. During the scuffle, two more shots were fired but no one was hit.

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 attacker targeted Hispanics and left at least 22 dead.

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Norway’s domestic security agency PST said it had a “vague” tip about Manshaus a year before the shooting but it was not enough to act on because they had no information about any “concrete plans” of attack.

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