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Anders Behring Breivik claims two more terror cells remain at large


Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian far-right extremistAnders Behring Breivik claims two more terror cells remain at large

Norway gunman pleads not guilty to mass killing and tells Oslo hearing he acted to 'save Europe' from Islam

Mark Townsend in Oslo and agencies

The man who confessed to killing more than 70 people in a bomb and gun massacre on Friday has claimed he belonged to an organisation with two more cells who remain at large.

At a closed hearing in Oslo, Anders Behring Breivik admitted carrying out the attacks but pleaded not guilty to one of the worst mass killings in peacetime Europe, and told the court he had acted to "save Europe" from Islam.

Breivik, 32, will be detained in complete isolation for four weeks, with no incoming letters or visitors except for his lawyer, while police investigate his claims to have accomplices. Breivik has previously said he acted alone in the attacks.

"The accused has made statements today that require further investigation, including that 'there are two more cells in our organisation'," said the judge, Kim Heger, who warned that Breivik could tamper with vital evidence if released. He will be held for at least another month after the court-ordered solitary confinement.

Breivik arrived at court on Monday morning to jeering from a crowd of around 400 people. As a police convoy approached the rear of Oslo's central court, someone shouted then the crowd surged forward. Bystanders screamed "traitor" and banged on the windows of a police car after one man said he'd spotted Breivik in the back seat.

A local book editor, Marius Wulfsberg, 54, described one bystander pointing at a man in the crowd as Breivik's vehicle passed. "That man lost three friends on Nyota Island, what do you have to say now? But the man he was pointing at was just standing there, impassive.

"People were angry, shouting, some were hitting the door of the car."

Just after 1.40pm local time, Breivik was hustled into an underground tunnel that led into the basement and then taken up to courtroom 828, on the 8th floor.

The hearing was ordered to be held behind closed doors after the judge was informed of last-minute police concerns.

Outside the sealed courtroom, reporters waited in vain for a glimpse of Breivik, who had initially requested to appear in court in uniform, and asked for time to explain his actions.

Normally such a hearing would be held in open court, but many in Norway had argued that Breivik should not be given a platform to justify the killings.

Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client had admitted to the attacks but denied any criminal guilt.

The court acknowledged the need for transparency in the case, but after a 35-minute hearing, Judge Heger said an open hearing would not be possible "for practical reasons."

"It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security," he said.

Police had earlier put the death toll at more than 90 but on Monday they revised the figure for the youth camp massacre down to 68, with at least seven killed in the bombing.

Earlier, a minute's silence brought Oslo to a standstill as thousands flocked to pay tribute outside the cathedral. More than 10 minutes later, thousands were still standing while others converged upon the vast field of flowers that has steadily grown in the heart of Oslo since Breivik struck.

The flag on the courthouse remained at half mast.

Meanwhile, the search for victims continued. Police have not released the names of the dead, but Norway's royal court said on Monday that those killed at the island retreat included Crown Princess Mette-Marit's stepbrother, an off-duty police officer, who was working there as a security guard.

In an interview with the Swedish tabloid Expressen, Breivik's father said he was disgusted by his son's acts and wished he had committed suicide.

"I don't feel like his father," said the former diplomat Jens David Breivik. "How could he just stand there and kill so many innocent people and just seem to think that what he did was OK? He should have taken his own life too. That's what he should have done."

Source: The Guardian UK, 25 July 2011




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