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Norway mosque shooting suspect appears in court Monday, battered but smiling

Attempted attack on mosque in Norway
Gunman attempts attack on mosque in Norway 00:33

A suspected gunman accused of an attempted terrorist attack on an Oslo mosque and separately killing his teenage stepsister appeared in court Monday, but his defense lawyer said he "will use his right not to explain himself for now." The suspect had two black eyes and other bruising around his head but smiled during the hearing.

His injuries may have been sustained when Muslim worshippers swarmed onto him during the alleged attack.

Attorney Unni Fries declined to comment on Norwegian media reports that the suspect was inspired by shootings in New Zealand, where a gunman killed 51 people in March, and on Aug. 3 in El Paso, Texas, which left at least 22 dead.

Her client was arrested Saturday after he entered the Al-Noor Islamic Center in Baerum, an Oslo suburb. Police said several shots were fired but did not specify what type of weapon was used. One person was slightly injured before people inside the mosque tackled and held the suspect until police arrived on the scene.

Police then raided the suspect's nearby house and found the body of his 17-year-old stepsister.

Officials had said that he was prepared to cause deaths and more injuries but didn't succeed because people inside the mosque helped neutralize him. Officials did not confirm how the bruises around his face and head, seen clearly in court on Monday, were sustained.

A suspect identified by Norwegian media as Philip Manshaus attends a hearing at an Oslo courthouse, Aug. 12, 2019, in Norway. Getty

The suspect has not been identified by officials but Norwegian media have reported that he is a 21-year-old Norwegian man named Philip Manshaus. Dagbladet, one of Norway's largest newspapers, reported that on day of the attack, Manshaus wrote online he had been "chosen" by "Saint (Brenton) Tarrant," the Christchurch gunman.

The name of the Oslo mosque is similar to the one in the New Zealand attacks. The head of Norway's domestic security agency said Monday officials had received a "vague" tip a year ago about the suspect, but it was not sufficient to act because officials had no information about any "concrete plans" of attack.

The Al-Noor islamic center mosque in Baerum near Oslo, Norway is seen on Aug. 11, 2019, a day after a gunman armed with multiple weapons opened fire in the mosque. Getty

Hans Sverre Sjoevold, head of Norway's PST agency, told a news conference that the agency and the police receive many tips from worried people every day and the information "didn't go in the direction of an imminent terror planning."

After Monday's hearing, which was held behind closed doors, Fries said her client "does not admit criminal guilt." The Oslo District Court ordered him held for four weeks, including two weeks in solitary confinement, while police investigate.

Prime Minister Erna Solberg called the attempted attack a "direct attack on Norwegian Muslims." On Monday Solberg suggested that political parties unite to tackle racism and discrimination, including possible legislation aiming to thwart hatred against Muslims.

The suspect's thwarted plans recall those of the Norwegian right-wing extremist who killed 77 people in 2011. Anders Behring Breivik is serving a 21-year prison sentence for carrying out a terror attack.

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