Confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik’s original plans for a terror attack was to bomb Oslo’s government district, the Labor Party’s office and a third target, possibly the royal palace, he told a court Thursday.
The far-right fanatic has confessed to setting off a car bomb outside the government headquarters on July 22, and then opening fire at a Labor Party youth camp outside the capital. A total of 77 people were killed in Norway’s worst peacetime massacre.
Questioned by prosecutors, Breivik said his original plan was to build three bombs. One would be placed at the government district and the second at the office of the governing Labor Party.
He had several options for the third target.
Breivik said the three bombs would be followed by several shooting massacres, if he survived. He decided against multiple bombs because building one was “much more difficult than I thought.”
His preferred targets for the shooting massacre was an annual conference of Norwegian journalists or the Labor Party’s annual meeting. But he couldn’t get prepared in time, so he decided on striking against the summer retreat of the Labor Party’s youth wing.
The 33-year-old Norwegian said he had expected to be confronted by armed police when he left Oslo for Utoya island. He killed 69 people there, armed with a handgun and a rifle _ both named after Norse gods.
Breivik, who styles himself as a modern-day crusader, has confessed to the attacks but rejects criminal guilt, saying he was acting to protect Norway and Europe by targeting left-wing political forces he claims have betrayed the country by opening it up to immigration.
The key issue of the trial is to establish whether he is criminally insane.
He entered the Oslo district court without the clenched-fist salute he had used in previous hearings.
In his testimony, Breivik said he played the computer game “Modern Warfare” for 16 months starting in January 2010, primarily to get a feel for how to use rifle sights.
Breivik said he decided already in 2006 to carry out what he expected to be a “suicide” operation. First he took a “sabbatical year” fully devoted to play another computer game, “World of Warcraft,” for 16 hours a day.
Breivik said that cutting off social contact for a full year helped him prepare for the attacks, but the game-playing was “pure entertainment. It doesn’t have anything to do with July 22.”
Prosecutors challenged Breivik’s assertion that he decided on an attack already in 2006, noting that his preparations for the attacks started in 2009, when he created an agricultural firm to buy chemicals for explosives.
Showing no sign of remorse, Breivik calmly answers questions from prosecutors, except when they ask about the alleged anti-Muslim “Knights Templar” network he claims to belong to. Prosecutors say they don’t believe it exists.
When he smiled at one point during questioning Wednesday, Prosecutor Svein Holden asked him how he thought the bereaved watching the proceedings in court would react to that.
The main point of his defense is to avoid an insanity ruling, which would deflate his political arguments. He repeatedly accuses prosecutors of trying to “ridicule” him by highlighting portions of a rambling, 1,500-page manifesto he posted before the attacks.
In it _ and in a shortened version he read to the court on Tuesday _ he said the “Knights Templar” will lead a revolt against “multiculturalist” governments around Europe, with the aim of deporting Muslims.
If found sane, Breivik could face a maximum 21-year prison sentence or an alternate custody arrangement that would keep him locked up as long as he is considered a menace to society. If declared insane, he would be committed to psychiatric care for as long as he’s considered ill.
The trial is expected to last 10 weeks.
Associated Press Writer Bjoern H. Amland in Oslo, Norway contributed to this report