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Norway remembers July 22 attacks 10 years ago that killed 77

By
Kyle Barnett
Convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik raises his right arm in a Nazi salute in the Borgarting Court of Appeal at Telemark prison in Skien, Norway, on  January 10, 2017. File Photo by Lise Asserud/EPA
Convicted mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik raises his right arm in a Nazi salute in the Borgarting Court of Appeal at Telemark prison in Skien, Norway, on  January 10, 2017. File Photo by Lise Asserud/EPA

July 22 (UPI) -- Officials and residents in Norway on Thursday are commemorating the deaths of 77 people 10 years ago at the hands of a political extremist.

The killer, Anders Breivik, launched two attacks on July 22, 2011, by setting off a bomb in Oslo. The blast killed several people and caused significant damage to government buildings.

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Breivik then drove to a political youth camp on Utoya island, north of Oslo, and, dressed as a police officer, shot 69 more people dead -- most of them 18 or younger.

In all, the attacks lasted just over four and a half hours before Breivik turned himself in.

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The attacks were the deadliest in Norway since World War II and the fifth-deadliest in Western Europe.

Breivik, who was 32 at the time of the massacre, was given the maximum jail sentence in Norway of 21 years. He now goes by the name Fjotolf Hansen, after changing his name in 2017.

"July 22 was an attack on democracy, and it was politically motivated terror," Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg said Thursday, according to Norway Today.

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"In a democracy, we must live side by side in a community, even with disagreement."

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg -- who was Norway's prime minister at the time of the attacks -- told CNN that the "hatred is still out there."

Breivik authored a 1,500-page manifesto prior to the attacks.

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The University of Oslo's Center for Research on Extremism said Breivik's actions have led to a page solely dedicated to the massacre.

"There was of course a lot of concern after the attacks that they would generate copycat attacks," the center's Dr. Jacob Aasland Ravndal told CNN.

Sandy Hook Elementary School shooter Adam Lanza was said to be be inspired by Breivik.

While other incidents have been linked to Breivik's manifesto, some researchers say his influence is minimal.

"The main finding, all in all, both when it comes to tactics but also for political, ideological support, is that it's been surprisingly little," Professor Matthew Feldman, director of the British Center for Analysis of the Radical Right, told CNN. "It's been possible to find support, but fortunately less than one might have worried about initially considering the high death toll and all the attention these attacks got globally."

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In 2017, Breivik won an appeal to his solitary confinement, saying the isolation only solidified his neo-Nazi beliefs. He also made a Nazi salute in the courtroom.

A study released in 2017 found the attacks were related to an increase in mental illness in Norway.

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