HELSINKI – Norway’s domestic intelligence agency says such attacks in the city of Kongsberg earlier this month are extremely difficult to predict and prevent, and are likely to happen again in an open society like Norway.

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“Attack like this, carried out by someone in simple ways, will happen again,” Arne Christian Hogstoyl, the agency’s counter-terrorism chief known as PST, said in an interview with Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten on Saturday. “I think it forces a discussion about what risks we should live with in a democratic and open society.”

Five people were killed and three others injured in the southern Norwegian city of Kongsberg on 13 October as Danish national Espen Andersen Brathen, 37, attacked his victims with bows and arrows and unspecified stabbing weapons.

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How dire the consequences will be in such cases in the future depends more on the response time of the police, not what an intelligence agency has managed to predict, Hogstoyl told Aftenposten. He added that “it is not possible to guarantee that you can prevent an attack in advance”.

In 2017, PST informed Norwegian police that Andersen Brathen, who was on the agency’s radar, had released a threatening video.

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“Unfortunately, there are many people who make hateful and threatening statements,” Hogstoyl told Aftenposten. “Every week we get to know an incredible number of videos, comments, photos and posts that are harsher and more extreme than just this video.”

When asked by Aftenposten he was hesitant whether the PST could have done anything different to stop the Kongsberg attack and said he would wait for the conclusion of an independent investigation into the police’s delay in arresting Andersen Brathen amid criticism that the response was too much. was slow.

Anderson Brathen confesses to the murders and is initially charged with five murders. Norwegian police assess that the suspect’s apparent mental illness was a likely cause of the attack, while Andersen Brathen’s statement of converting to Islam became a low-key investigation line.

Police said Monday that the victims of the stampede were likely to be stabbed to death after Andersen Brathen first used arrows to wound them.