Tuesday Aug 13, 2019
OSLO: A 65-year-old former Pakistan Air Force officer has been credited with thwarting an attack at a mosque in Norway.
Mohammad Rafiq was praised for his great courage by the Oslo police after he tackled a heavily armed gunman who stormed into the Al-Noor mosque on Sunday.
Only three people were present in the mosque at the time of the attack, preparing for Sunday’s celebration of Eid-ul-Azha, when the gunman, identified as 21-year-old Philip Manshaus, entered the mosque armed with at least two weapons and opened fire before being overpowered by Rafiq.
“I suddenly heard shooting from outside,” Rafiq told Reuters, adding that a man then entered the building with guns and pistols.
“He started to fire towards the two other men,” Rafiq said, adding that he had then grabbed the attacker, holding him down and wrestling the weapons off the attacker.
His eye red and one hand swollen, Rafiq, who has lived in Norway for the past two and a half years, said he was still recovering from the attack.
“He put his finger inside my eye, up to here; full finger inside my eye,” Rafiq added.
Rafiq said the suspect was carrying multiple firearms and the mosque’s director added that the suspect was wearing body armour and a helmet, according to the BBC.
Manshaus is formally suspected of murdering his 17-year-old stepsister, and of a "terrorist act" at the mosque, allegations he has rejected.
The Norway incident comes amid a rise in white supremacy attacks around the world, including the recent El Paso massacre in the United States.
Norway witnessed one of the worst-ever attacks by a right-wing extremist in July 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in a truck bomb blast near government offices in Oslo and a shooting spree at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya.