THE 32-year-old suspected of massacring at least 80 young people at a summer camp and setting off a bomb in downtown Oslo that killed at least seven is a mystery to investigators: a right-winger with anti-Muslim views but no known links to hardcore extremists.
"He just came out of nowhere," a police official told The Associated Press.
Public broadcaster NRK and several other Norwegian media identified the suspected attacker as Anders Behring Breivik, a blond and blue-eyed Norwegian who expressed right-wing and anti-Muslim views on the internet.
Norwegian news agency NTB said Breivik legally owned several firearms and belonged to a gun club. He ran an agricultural firm growing vegetables, an enterprise that could have helped him secure large amounts of fertiliser, a potential ingredient in bombs.
But he didn't belong to any known factions in Norway's small and splintered extreme right movement, and his criminal record consisted of some minor offences, the police official said.
"He hasn't been on our radar, which he would have been if was active in the neo-Nazi groups in Norway," he said. "But he still could be inspired by their ideology."
He spoke on condition of anonymity because those details had not been officially released by police. He declined to name the suspect.
Neo-Nazi groups carried out a series of murders and robberies in Scandinavia in the 1990s but have since kept a low profile.
"They have a lack of leadership. We have pretty much control of those groups," the police official said.
Breivik's registered address is at a four-storey apartment building in western Oslo. A police car was parked outside the brick building early today, with officers protecting the entrance.
National police chief Sveinung Sponheim told public broadcaster NRK that the gunman's Internet postings "suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen".