On Wednesday night, 37-year-old Danish citizen Espen Andersen Brathen went on a killing spree with a bow and arrow, murdering four women and one man in the southern town of Kongsberg. Brathen “had converted to Islam and there were fears he had been radicalized” reports the BBC.
Norwegian police sent out a press release on Thursday saying the suspect is due to appear in court on Friday at 09:00 local time. Residents have been deeply traumatized by the attack, and are flying at half-mast while flowers and other memorials are being placed in the town’s square.
Victims were all between the ages of 50 and 70, police told reporters of the attack which was first reported at 18:12 on Wednesday. “Police confronted the man six minutes later, but he shot several arrows at them and escaped. He was eventually caught about 30 minutes later” reports the BBC.
The police chief said the man killed his victims after escaping police and before his arrest roughly 30 minutes later. Police told Norwegian news agency NTB that the attacker also used other weapons, without giving more details.
Residents were ordered to stay indoors so authorities could process and examine what is being determined as a large area of ground that the attacker covered. Police searched surrounding gardens and garages with the help of sniffer dogs.
A police lawyer told the public broadcaster NRK that the suspect will be assessed by psychiatrists. Police officers “nationwide were ordered to carry firearms as an extra precaution, but there is ‘no indication so far that there is a change in the national threat level’ said the directorate’s statement.
Defense Department to Pay ‘Condolence Payments’ of Botched Drone Strike Killing Afghan Family
Late Friday the Defense Department announced it will be offering “condolence payments” to relatives of the victims killed in a U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan. The horrific error killed 10 people in August, a response which was intended for terrorists responsible for the suicide attack at the Kabul airport killing 13 U.S. Servicemen and women, 169 Afghans, and injured dozens more.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement the Defense Department was working with the State Department to help relocate surviving family members to the United States. Kirby did not say how much money would be offered, but that under secretary of defense for policy, Dr. Colin Kahl, “reiterated Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin’s commitment to the families, including offering ex gratia condolence payments.”
On August 29, the U.S. Hellfire missile struck a car driven by Zemerai Ahmadi who had just driven up to the family compound. 10 family members total, including seven children, were killed in the strike.
The aftermath of the terror attack in Kabul while the U.S. military was attempting to make final evacuations further details how ill-equipped the Biden administration has been to handle the troop withdrawal.
“The U.S. military initially defended the strike” on the Ahmadi compound, “saying it had targeted an Islamic State group’s ‘facilitator’ and disrupted the militants’ ability to carry out attacks during the chaotic final stage of the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan” reports the Associated Press.
Additionally, “discrepancies between the military’s portrayal of the strike and findings on the ground quickly emerged. The Associated Press and other news organizations reported that the driver of the targeted vehicle was a longtime employee at a U.S. humanitarian organization. There were no signs of a large secondary blast, despite the Pentagon’s assertion that the vehicle contained explosives” adds the AP.
Taiwan Warns They Are Strengthening Military To Protect Against China
During a speech over the weekend, Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen warned that the country would be strengthening its military to protect Taiwan’s sovereignty against Communist China.
“After taking complete control of Hong Kong and suppressing democracy activists, the Beijing authorities also shifted away from the path of political and economic development that they had followed since ‘reform and opening up’ began decades ago. At the same time, regional order is being challenged in the South and East China Seas,” Tsai said. “The routinization of Chinese military activity in Taiwan’s southwestern air defense identification zone (ADIZ) has seriously affected both our national security and aviation safety.”
Tsai explained that Taiwan “is willing to do its part to contribute to the peaceful development of the region” and that their “position on cross-strait relations remains the same: neither our goodwill nor our commitments will change.”
However, Tsai warned, “We hope for an easing of cross-strait relations and will not act rashly, but there should be absolutely no illusions that the Taiwanese people will bow to pressure. We will continue to bolster our national defense and demonstrate our determination to defend ourselves in order to ensure that nobody can force Taiwan to take the path China has laid out for us. This is because the path that China has laid out offers neither a free and democratic way of life for Taiwan, nor sovereignty for our 23 million people.”
Tsai’s comments come just a week after China sent over 150 military planes into Taiwanese air space.
“The defense of Taiwan is in our own hands, and we are absolutely committed to that,” Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu told ABC Australia in response to China’s aggression. “If China is going to launch a war against Taiwan we will fight to the end, and that is our commitment. I’m sure that if China is going to launch an attack against Taiwan, I think they are going to suffer tremendously as well.”
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