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Norway's police praised after attacks

Norway's police praised after attacks
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Norway’s police believe Anders Behring Breivik probably acted alone in killing 76 people last Friday.

They are facing criticism for taking more than an hour to reach the scene of Breivik’s shooting spree on Utoeya island where 68 people, mainly youngsters are reported to have been killed. But the country’s Justice Minister Knut Storberget has praised what he called the “fantastic” work carried out by the police force. Much of the police’s resources were focused on the bomb blast that rocked central Oslo before the shooting. Breivik has also admitted to the bombing, which claimed at least eight lives.

The investigation is now focusing on Breivik’s claim that there are other far-right cells waiting to strike, a claim authorities say they cannot rule out.

“We don’t have any concrete suspects but we are investigating it of course, checking this person in or out, if he exists. We don’t know yet. But this will be an important task with the investigation,” said deputy police chief Sveinung Sponheim.

Following his appearance in court on Monday, Breivik was remanded in custody for eight weeks with the first four weeks to be spent in solitary confinement.

The gunman had said his operation was not aimed at killing as many people as possible but that he wanted to create the greatest loss possible to Norway’s governing Labour Party, which he accused of failing the country on immigration.

Prosecutors are looking into the possibility of charging Breivik with crimes against humanity. The terrorism charges he currently faces carry a maximum prison sentence of 21 years. Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told Norwegian media that a conviction for crimes against humanity, which the police are considering, would come with a maximum 30-year sentence.