Zaniar Matapour: Oslo Attacker is Member of Islamic Extremist Network Operating in Norway Since 2015

However, police said that Matapour has refused to speak to police about his actions and the motive behind the carnage is still unclear.

  • Updated

A Norway court on Monday identified the suspect who killed two people and injured 20 others at a gay bar in Oslo as Zaniar Matapour. Investigators said that Matapour is a 42-year-old Norwegian citizen with Iranian ancestry. He was arrested after opening fire at three different sites in central Oslo during Pride celebrations.

However, police said that Matapour has refused to speak to police about his actions and the motive behind the carnage is still unclear. Shortly after the early-Saturday shooting in Oslo's entertainment zone, Matapour was taken into custody. He is being detained on accusations of terrorism, murder, and attempted murder.

Motive Unclear

Zaniar Matapour while being arrested
Zaniar Matapour while being arrested on Saturday night Twitter

Matapour's motive behind the deadly attack on Saturday remains unclear. The Norwegian security service described the incident as an "Islamist terror act," which resulted in the deaths of two individuals and more than 20 injuries.

However, they also confirmed that Matapour was interrogated on Saturday and again on Sunday but without much success as he refused to speak, according to Oslo police. So far, he hasn't been cooperating with the investigators.

John Christian Elden, Matapour's defense attorney, told Associated Press via an email that his client had declined to have his statement recorded and videotaped unless police made the entire recording available to the public "with no time delay so it won't be censored or manipulated."

It is common practice for police to record interrogations. Elden has earlier stated that although his client had not revealed a reason, he did not deny being the shooter.

Zaniar Matapour
Moment when police pin down Zaniar Matapour Twitter

Matapour did not object to being held in detention for an additional four weeks, the attorney said on Sunday, therefore he will not be in court on Monday. Hearings for pretrial detention are typically held every four weeks in Norway.

According to police, officers arrived on the scene where Matapour had killed two people --- one in his 50s and the other in his 60s --- five minutes after the initial emergency calls. Metapour was arrested after being chased down the street by onlookers.

Zaniar Matapour being chased
Zaniar Matapour being chased by two people before being arrested Twitter

The initial conditions of Matapour's custody during the mass shooting inquiry will be decided by the Oslo district court on Monday. Police stated that as part of that, a psychological evaluation will be performed on him.

Posing Big Threat

Police have described Matapour as a radicalized Islamist with a history of mental instability. According to VG, Matapour has a criminal history that includes convictions for aggravated assault and drug possession. Attempted murder charges were dropped.

According to intelligence agencies, Matapour was a member of a network of Islamist radicals in Norway and had been known to them since 2015.

In a press conference, PST Chief Roger Berg said the suspect has a "long history of violence and threats," according to VG.

Zaniar Matapour
Zaniar Matapour being arrested Twitter

According to NRK, "In 1999, he was first sentenced to 10 months in prison for stabbing at a nightclub. When the appeal went to the Court of Appeal, he was acquitted on several of the charges."

The site reported that authorities believe the shooting was "an extreme Islamist terrorist act." It also reported that authorities had spoken to Metapour in May 2022 because he "was demonstrating against a group that burned the Koran on the streets of Oslo."

Oslo police
Oslo police at the scene after the carnage Twitter

According to NRK, authorities are looking into whether the shooting was a case of political violence or hate crime. They are also looking into the suspect's mental health problems.