msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/26/2011 10:56:46 AM ET 2011-07-26T14:56:46

Police across Europe are investigating Norway gunman Anders Behring Breivik’s claims of links to right-wing extremists across Europe and are examining the activities of other groups.

Europol, the European law enforcement agency, has requested support increased from countries around Europe, including the U.K., to better understand the activities of right-wing extremist groups. The organization's specialist anti-terror unit, made up of 50 investigators from around Europe, will also assist the Norwegian police in their enquiry.

"In the past, we have seen violence from right-wing extremists, but not acts of terror, so it was surprising to everyone to see" this attack, Soren Pedersen, a spokesman for Europol, told msnbc.com. "This is not a pattern we have seen so far. We see now that it is quite important to keep following" these groups.

There is no evidence thus far that Breivik had help planning Friday's attacks. He has however, been linked to UK groups like the far-right English Defense League, which says it peacefully protests Islamic Extremism in the UK. Breivik mentioned the group in his 1,500 page manifesto, saying that he used to have more than 600 EDL members as Facebook friends and that he “supplied them with processed ideological material (including rhetorical strategies) in the very beginning.”

The EDL strongly denied links to Breivik but did acknowledge that “there’s an undercurrent of anger across Britain, across the whole of Europe,” leader Stephen Lennon told the BBC on Monday night.

Searchlight, a UK magazine dedicated to fighting "the politics of hate," said on Tuesday that Breivik exchanged messages with members of the EDL online, using his internet pseudonym, Sigurd Jorsalfare.

"To you all good English men and women, just wanted to say that you're a blessing to all in Europe, in these dark times all of Europe are looking to you in surch of inspiration, courage and even hope that we might turn this evil trend with islamisation [sic] all across our continent. Well, just wanted to say keep up the good work it's good to see others that care about their country and heritage," he wrote, according to Searchlight.

In response to another of his posts, a member of the EDL, identified as "Concerned", wrote to him: "Bravo sigurd admire your views and courage. no surrender and welcome.”

Story: Norway attacks focus attention on US right-wing extremists

Daryl Hobson, an EDL demonstration organizer, told the U.K.’s Telegraph newspaper that Breivik had met members of the group.

Story: German tourist rescued teens during Norwegian island massacre

“He had about 150 EDL on his list … bar one or two doubt the rest of us ever met him, altho [sic] he did come over for one of our demo [sic] in 2010 … but what he did was wrong. RIP to all who died as a result of his actions,” Hobson said in an online post according to the Telegraph.

According to the Telegraph website, U.K. police are interested in Breivik’s claim that he was recruited into a secret “Knights of Templar” group that aimed to save Europe from Muslims, and that he was in touch with a mentor from England called “Richard”.

New priorities?
Finding far-right groups in their mainly online haunts will be tough for police who for years gave Islamist militants top priority.

Police and experts point to the Internet's role in spreading the racist material that shaped killer Breivik's extreme views, but also highlight the difficulty in policing dynamic online forums without undermining civil liberties.

Slideshow: Norway mourns after massacre (on this page) "Individuals who belong to anti-Islamic groups in Norway are first and foremost found on various social media ... Increased activism among Norwegian anti-Islamic organizations can however also increase the use of violence," Norway's PST police security service said in a January report.

Such an assessment may now appear prescient, but the report led on the threat from Islamist militants, and concluded that far-right groups pose no "serious threat" to Norway.

In nearby Denmark, where far-right elements are also active, police are also on the defensive, insisting they already closely monitor the extreme right.

"Detentions have continuously been made, most recently in January 2011 when a man linked to right-wing extremist circles was detained and where a search discovered chemicals that could have been used in bomb manufacturing," Danish intelligence and security chief Jakob Scharf said in a weekend statement.

Magnus Ranstorp, research director at Sweden's Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies, said while police may have a grasp on some traditional extremist activity, the online world posed more of a challenge.

"Assessments are that it (far-right extremism) is at a steady level and authorities have pretty good control over it," he said. "Where they don't have great control is meeting on the Internet and the Internet's central role in all of this."

Reuters contributed to this report.

Timeline: Attacks in Norway

On July 22, a powerful bomb in Oslo was followed by a mass shooting on nearby Utoya Island. Here is the sequence of events. All times are local.

Video: Norway suspect: There are other terror cells

  1. Closed captioning of: Norway suspect: There are other terror cells

    >>> new details emerging this morning about the man admitted to carrying out the deadly terror attacks in norway . nbc's martin fletcher is in oslo, norway . martin, good morning to you.

    >> reporter: good morning, matt. norway is in mourning here in oslo cathedral . this is the emotional heart of that mourning. people still in disbelief that one of their own could have carried out such a massacre. as more details emerging about the man who says he did it. the self-admitted killer anders breivik was in norway in court monday there were two more terror cells. police say they don't necessarily believe him, at first he said it did it alone. as more details emerge from survivors, they're investigating.

    >> no emeiotionemotion. he was so cold. he was so calm. could see that he was trained for this.

    >> reporter: more details about breivik , too. photos show him partying with girls as a schoolboy and on the internet as a hunter. his father spoke saying breivik 's parents divorced when he was 1 or 2. father and son haven't been in touch for 16 years, and he also said no normal human being could do such a thing. my son, he said, should have killed himself . norway 's royal family was hit, too. the kroucrowned princess' stepbrother was killed. even arizos they investigate possible more terrorists. growing concern about the performance of the police. after friday's dismal performan performance.

    >> i think that the police should get more money to spend.

    >> reporter: first news of the shooting came from desperate phone calls by terrified teenagers. it took the police 90 minutes to get there. the problem, no helicopter available in the norwegian capital, so the s.w.a.t. team drove by road, 30 miles and 28 minutes. then they couldn't find a boat. when they did, they were so overweight they reportedly had to bail water all the way. yet as soon as they arrived, the gunman surrendered. the police question is critical for europe because most are directed to prevent possible terror attacks by muslims. now they've got to switch gear and be ready for attacks by white races, too.

    >> martin, thank you.

Photos: Norway in mourning after massacre

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  1. Under heavily armed police guard, Anders Behring Breivik (left, in red T-shirt) is taken back to Utoya on August 13 to reconstruct his actions during a shooting spree on the island. Breivik is charged with killing 69 people who were attending a summer camp at the lake island after killing another eight people in Oslo with a bomb. (Trond Solberg / VG - Scanpix Norway via Sipa) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Up to a dozen police escorted Breivik (in red) back to Utoya island to stage the reconstruction. (Trond Solberg / VG - Scanpix Norway via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Breivik travels with police officers on the ferry to Utoya island on August 13. The 32-year-old Breivik described the shootings in close detail during an eight-hour tour on the island, prosecutor Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby told a news conference. (Trond Solberg / VG - Scanpix Norway via Sipa) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Relatives and friends of the Norway attack victim Tamta Liparteliani gather near a coffin during a funeral in Kutaisi, western Georgia, on August 6. Tamta, a Georgian student, was one of the victims on Utoya island. (Shakh Aivazov / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Norway Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg comforts a relative of Mona Abdninur, 18, during her funeral ceremony in Hoeybraeten, near Oslo, on August 2. Abdninur was one of the 77 people killed by Anders Behring Breivik. (Stoyan Nenov / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. A combination photo shows 21 of the victims killed in the July 22 bomb attack in central Oslo and shooting rampage on Utoya island. First row from left are: Silje Merete Fjellbu (17), Birgitte Smetbak (15), Margrethe Boeyum Kloeven (16), Bano Abobakar Rashid (18), Hanne Fjalestad (43), Diderik Aamodt Olsen (19) and Kjersti Berg Sand (26). Second row from left are: Sharidyn Meegan Ngahiwi Svebakk-Boehn, Guro Vartdal Haavoll (18), Syvert Knudsen (17), Simon Saeboe (18), Haakon Oedegaard (17), Johannes Buoe (14) and Eivind Hovden (15). Third row from left are: Sondre Furseth Dale (17), Sverre Flaate Bjoerkavaag (28), Gizem Dogan (17), Dupe Ellen Awoyemi (15), Silje Stamneshagen (18), Tove Aashill Knutsen (56) and Rolf Christopher Johansen Perreau (25). (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. A close friend of Bano Rashid, one of the victims of the massacre on the youth camp of the Norwegian Labour Party, walks ahead of her coffin carrying her portrait as they make their way to her gravesite at Nesodden Kirke, south of Oslo on July 29. (Odd Andersen / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. A mourner weeps during the funeral service for Bano Abobakar Rashid at a church in Nesodden, near Oslo, on July 29. Rashid, whose family fled to Norway from Iran in 1996, was one of the victims on Utoya island, where gunman Anders Behring Breivik killed at least 68 people, exactly one week ago. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Mourners gather in a circle to console themselves prior to the funeral procession of Bano Abobakar Rashid. (Lefteris Pitarakis / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. People pay their respects for the victims in last Friday's killing spree and bomb attack, at a temporary memorial site on the shore in front of Utoya island northwest of Oslo on Wednesday. (Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A family drops red roses from their boat into the sea, close to Utoya island, near Oslo, Norway, on July 26. (Ferdinand Ostrop / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. A sea of flowers and lit candles are placed in memory of those killed in Friday's bomb and shooting attack in front of Oslo Cathedral on Monday, July 25. Hundreds of thousands of Norwegians packed city centres across the country to pay tribute to the 76 people killed in twin attacks last week. Picture taken with fish-eye lens. (Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. People comfort each other outside Oslo City Hall as they participate in a "rose march" in memory of the victims of Friday's bomb attack and shooting massacre on Monday, July 25. (Aas, Erlend / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. People gather outside Oslo City Hall to participate in a "rose march" in memory of the victims of Friday's bomb attack and shooting massacre in Norway, Monday. (Emilio Morenatti / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Elizabeth Amundsen holds a rose and cries as thousands of people gather at a memorial vigil following Friday's twin extremist attacks on Monday in Oslo, Norway. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Thousands of people hold up roses as they take part in the 'Rose March' in Oslo, Norway on Monday. (Joerg Carstensen / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. Police continue searches on Utoya island, following Friday's twin extremist attacks on Monday in Utoya, Norway. (Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Anders Behring Breivik, left, the man accused of a killing spree and bomb attack in Norway, sits in the rear of a vehicle as he is transported in a police convoy leaving the courthouse in Oslo on July 25. A judge ordered eight weeks detention for Breivik. (Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen / Aftenposten - Scanpix Norway via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. People stand outside the courthouse where Anders Behring Breivik is due to appear in Oslo on July 25. (Cathal McNaughton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. A boy lights a candle to pay tribute to victims of Friday's twin attacks in central Oslo on July 25. (Emilio Morenatti / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Norway's HH Princess Martha Louise, left, and HRH Norway's Crown Princess Mette-Marit react while listening to a speech as hundreds of thousands of people gather at a memorial vigil following Friday's twin extremist attacks on Monday in Oslo, Norway. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Survivors from the shooting at the island of Utoya walk along a street in central Oslo on July 25. (Emilio Morenatti / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A couple react as they pay their respects at a sea of floral tributes for the victims of Friday's attacks, outside the cathedral of Oslo on July 25. (Cathal McNaughton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. People bring flowers to a memorial in front of the Domkirke church in central Oslo on July25. (Britta Pedersen / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. People, including relatives of a victim in the center of the picture, gather to observe a minute's silence on a campsite jetty on the Norwegian mainland, across the water from Utoya island, on July 25. People have been placing floral tributes in memory of those killed in the shooting massacre. (Matt Dunham / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. People stand in front of the Domkirke church in central Oslo on July 25. The bombing of government buildings in Oslo and the subsequent shooting spree at a political youth camp on Utoya island on 22 July have claimed more than 90 lives with the death toll still feared to rise. (Joerg Carstensen / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. French police officers work around the house of Jens Breivik, the father of Anders Behring Breivik, in Cournanel, southern France, on July 25. Anders Behring Breivik is reported to have admitted to Friday's shootings at a youth camp and a bomb that killed seven people in Oslo's government district, but to have denied any criminal guilt. (Bob Edme / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, left, hugs Queen Sonja as King Harald, right, looks on outside a government building in Oslo on July 24. (Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. Three roses float in Tyrifjord Lake near a makeshift memorial for the victims of the massacre on Utoya island on July 24. (Britta Pedersen / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. Friends and loved ones gather at Oslo cathedral on July 24 to mourn victims killed in the twin terror attacks. (Paula Bronstein / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. Rescue personnel continue in their search for the missing in Tyrifjor lake, just off Utoya island July 24. (Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Survivors and relatives of a shooting rampage on the Utoya island mourn following a memorial service in the Oslo cathedral July 24. (Wolfgang Rattay / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. German Marcel Gleffe stands on Utvika camping ground in front of Utoya Island, Norway, July 24. According to news sources, Gleffe, who has a military background, saved up to 30 youths from the Utoya island shooting. Reports state that he was on holiday with his family at a campground across the water from Utoya when he heard the gunfire. He and others reportedly jumped into boats and began ferrying people escaping the island to safety. (Britta Pedersen / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Adrian Pracon, one of the survivors of the Utoya island massacre, speaks from his bed at Ringerike hospital on July 24. He pretended to be dead, and was able to survive with a gunshot wound in his shoulder. (Steinar Schjetne / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. A combination of images shows Anders Behring Breivik, the man identified by Norwegian police as the gunman and alleged bomber behind the attack on government buidlings and the Labour party youth camp in Oslo on July 22 . Breivik told police he acted alone in the attack he had planned over many months. (Facebook / YouTube / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. Utoya island, located 40 kilometers southwest of Oslo, is seen in the background as people light candles on July 23, in memory of the victims of the July 22 shooting spree on the island. (Jonathan Nackstrand / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Members of the police and army carry out searches on a farm rented by Anders Behring Breivik in the small rural region of Rena, 93 miles north of Oslo, July 23. Breivik was arrested after Friday's massacre of young people on a tiny forested holiday island that was hosting the annual summer camp for the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour party. The 32-year-old Norwegian was also charged for the bombing of Oslo's government district that killed seven people hours earlier. (Cathal McNaughton / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Family members and survivors react as Norwegian King Harald and Queen Sonja (not seen) arrive to comfort them outside a hotel northwest of Oslo July 23. (Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A boat of rescue services is seen near the bodies of victims covered with white blankets resting at the shore of Utoya island following a July 22 shooting spree at the island, west of the capital Oslo, Norway, July 23. (Kristoffer Oeverli Andersen / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. Youths are escorted away from a camp site in Utoya, Norway, July 23. (Scanpix Norway / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. The shattered windows of a government building are seen on July 23 in Oslo, following Friday's bombing. (Vegard Grott / Scanpix Norway via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. People gather outside the Oslo Cathedral to mourn and show their respect for the victims of the July 22 shooting at a Norwegian Labour Youth League camp, July 23. (Jan Johannessen / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. People embrace inside a hotel where relatives of victims and survivors of the shooting which took place at a meeting of the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour Party on Utoya island gather in Sundvollen on Friday. (Fabrizio Bensch / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  44. Emergency services are seen on Utoya island searching for the missing after a shooting took place at a meeting of the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour Party on Friday. (Str / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  45. A wounded woman is brought ashore opposite Utoya island after being rescued from a gunman who went on a killing rampage targeting participants in a Norwegian Labour Party youth organisation event on the island on Friday. (Svein Gustav Wilhelmsen / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  46. A SWAT team aim their weapons while people take cover during a shoot out at Utoya island, some 40 km south west of the capital Oslo on Friday. (Jan Bjerkeli / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  47. An aerial view of Utoya Island taken July 21. A gunman opened fire on youths at a camp on the island, killing at least nine. Police arrested a suspect, a Norwegian, and said he was linked to the bomb blast in Oslo. (Lasse Tur / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  48. Still images taken from surveillance camera footage show the moment the bomb blast struck the Digital Impuls store in Oslo on Friday July 22, as glass shatters and people run out of the store. (Reuters Tv / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  49. Smoke pours from a building in the center of Oslo, Norway, on Friday, July 22, after an explosion that damaged several buildings, including the prime minister's office, shattering windows and covering the street with documents. The bombing was linked to a nearly simultaneous attack on a youth camp northwest of Olso in which a man dressed as a policeman opened fire on young people. (Thomas Winje ØIjord / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  50. A man tends to a wounded woman after an explosion near government buildings in Oslo. (Morten Holm / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  51. Smoke rises from central Oslo after the explosion. (Jon Bredo ØVeraas / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  52. An injured woman is helped by a man at the scene of the explosion. The blast damaged government buildings in central Oslo, including Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's office. (Scanpix Norway / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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    A young victim is helped in the center of Oslo, following an explosion that tore open several buildings. (Winje ÃIjord / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  54. Rescue officials help a wounded man. (Roald Berit / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  55. The wreckage of a vehicle lies outside government buildings after the blast. (Fartein Rudjord / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  56. An injured man is treated at the scene in Oslo. (Thomas Winje Oijord / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  57. A damaged building is seen after the bomb blast. (Andersen Aleksander / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
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