Image: Children leave roses at a makeshift memorial outside the Cathedral in Oslo
Jonathan Nackstrand  /  AFP - Getty Images
Children leave roses at a makeshift memorial outside the Cathedral in Oslo on July 27, in honor of the victims of the July 22 twin attacks in downtown Oslo and on the island of Utoya.
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 7/27/2011 8:34:30 PM ET 2011-07-28T00:34:30

Police are increasingly certain that mass killer Anders Behring Breivik acted alone, but are leaving no stone unturned in the hunt for collaborators as they try to close one of the bloodiest chapters in Norway's history.

Breivik, 32, killed eight people in a bomb attack in central Oslo last Friday and then shot 68 at an island summer camp for the ruling Labor Party's youth wing.

He has told police he was part of a network in his self-styled "crusade" against Islam and multiculturalism — but Norwegian authorities doubt this.

"So far we have no indication that he has any accomplices or that there are more cells," the head of the Norwegian Police Security Service, Janne Kristiansen, told Reuters on Wednesday. His claim was likely to have been a play for publicity, she said.

Kristiansen said there would be no let-up in hunting Breivik's possible partners, however unlikely, or in police monitoring of extremists.

"As long as there is a tiny chance...we have to investigate it -- that is our main focus," said Kristiansen, who added that Breivik was "too calculated, too focused" to be considered insane.

Norway agreed on Wednesday to review security and the police response to the killings.

"It's important to clarify all aspects of the attacks to learn lessons from what has occurred," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said after parliamentary leaders agreed to appoint an independent commission to review the attack after a period of mourning.

Critics have questioned whether the police acted too slowly to the shooting spree in Utoya, which went on for about 90 minutes before Breivik was arrested, and whether security in the Nordic nation is too lax.

"(Police) organization and capacity will be part of an evaluation,'' Stoltenberg said. He expected the attacks to stimulate political engagement among his compatriots, he said.

Story: Police begin to release IDs of Norway massacre victims

Norwegians, unused to violence in a quiet country of 4.8 million, must now struggle with how to improve security without jeopardizing the freedom and openness of their society.

"Our challenge will be to reconcile those two things,'' Stoltenberg said, denying that Norway had been naive. "It is very important to distinguish between naivete and openness."

He said he welcomed a debate about security measures and the police response to the emergency.

Search for international links
Breivik is said to have given varying accounts of his actions, first saying he operated alone and then telling a judge he was part of a wider network.

Norway's domestic intelligence chief said she believed Breivik was a lone operator and contested an assertion by his lawyer that his client was probably insane.

"So far we have no indication that he has any accomplices or that there are more cells,'' Janne Kristiansen told Reuters.

Nonetheless, Kristiansen said police had not ruled out that there could be others involved and that they were in touch with police outside Norway.

"We are working with the other security services in the rest of Europe, in America and the rest of the world,'' she said.

Kristiansen said Breivik's strategy is to spread fear to make sure he is kept in the limelight, partly achieved by saying he has other cells of sympathizers.

Story: European police probe Norway attacker's links to right-wing groups

Asked about Breivik's claim of affiliation to a "Knights Templar" group, Kristiansen said it had existed at some point, but that security services have had no knowledge of it for a few years. She declined to disclose any more information.

Meanwhile, a member of Belgian right-wing party Vlaams Belang who received Breivik's manifesto said Breivik sent the 1,500-page document to 250 British email addresses, The Guardian newspaper reported.

"I think the U.K. was the biggest group [of recipients]," Tangur Veys said. "There were people from Italy, France, Germany ... but the U.K. was the biggest number."

The Guardian cited reports that the domestic extremism unit at the Britain's Scotland Yard, which is investigating Breivik's alleged links to the U.K., has a list of British-based email addresses. The Metropolitan Police refused to confirm the report, The Guardian said.

Separately on Wednesday, police in Germany raided 21 homes and properties linked to suspected right-wing extremists, the prosecutor's office in the state capital Stuttgart said.

The investigation, which was launched in March, was not linked to Norway's attacks, according to the office.

Some 140 police officers took part in the raid in Baden-Wuerttemberg state, seizing weapons, ammunition, drugs and computers from 18 people involved with a group known as "Standarte Wuerrttemberg," which aims to expel all foreigners from Germany.

Story: Unsettling wariness in Norway, where cops are rarely armed

Insane, calculated or both?
On Tuesday night police destroyed an explosives cache found at a farm rented by Breivik, some 100 miles north of Oslo. They believe he made his bomb using fertilizer which he had bought under the guise of a farmer.

They detonated another cache on Wednesday.

Breivik's lawyer, Geir Lippestad, said his client was probably insane, but it was too early to say if the loner and computer game enthusiast would plead insanity at his trial.

Breivik has confessed to his actions, but denied guilt, saying he was part of a network with two cells in Norway and more abroad that was fighting to save European "Christendom" from the spread of Islam and multi-culturalism.

Breivik, birthers: What they have in common

Kristiansen said she did not believe Breivik was insane, or that he would plead insanity at his trial.

"He is too calculated, too focused. He is not going to plead insanity,'' she said. "He wants to be seen as the savior of the world, and you can't be insane to be that."

Breivik, 32, has asked that non-Norwegian psychiatrists assess him, police lawyer Paal-Fredrik Hjort Kraby said.

Breivik, who was remanded in custody for eight weeks on Monday, has been charged under the terrorism act, which carries a maximum penalty of 21 years in jail, but the authorities are considering whether to charge him with crimes against humanity.

Stoltenberg said that Norway had a system allowing sentences to be extended if there were a risk of new crimes.

Below the radar
Both Norwegian and international media have questioned how it has been possible for Breivik to stay below the police radar for so long, having planned the attack for many years.

"This person's strategy is to be below the radar,'' Kristiansen said, when asked how he had avoided being noticed.

"He has done everything on his own in a way that will make the police suspicious of nothing. He has not broken the law. He has had a strategy, and sorry to say he has succeeded in that strategy."

Kristiansen said the security services had warned in their threat assessment earlier this year that right-wing extremism is on the rise in Europe and that there were "some in Norway" but that right and left extremist groups will not pose a "serious threat" to Norway in 2011.

Justice Minister Knut Storberget deflected criticism that police reacted too slowly to the shootings, hailing their work after the attacks as "fantastic."

Many Norwegians seem to agree the police do not deserve reproach for their response. At a rally of more than 200,000 in Oslo on Monday night, people applauded rescue workers.

Trying to move forward
Jittery Norwegians sought to restore some normality five days after the bloodshed, as police reopened some streets around the blast site in Oslo and shops gradually reopened for business.

But two false alarms kept people on edge. A security alert forced the evacuation of Oslo's central station on Wednesday,after a suspicious suitcase was found on a bus. Police said later it was harmless.

In another false alarm, police retracted a search alert for a man who they suspected of sympathizing with Breivik, saying in fact they wanted to detain a mentally ill man with no link to
the killer.

Image: Rigmor Aasrud
Wolfgang Rattay  /  Reuters
Government minister Rigmor Aasrud plans to return to her office opposite the destroyed government building in Oslo on Wednesday, the first to do so.

In a symbolic effort to promote normalcy, cabinet minister Rigmor Aaserud returned to her office in Oslo's government district where Breivik detonated the bomb on Friday. Her office, in a government complex, was little damaged.

The bomb blew a hole in Stoltenberg's office. For now, he will work from the defense ministry in a different area of Oslo and cabinet meetings will be held in a medieval fort near the waterfront. It is not clear whether the 17-storey prime ministry building will be rebuilt or torn down.

In Stoltenberg's building, which took the brunt of the car bomb, curtains still flapped from broken windows.

Slideshow: Norway mourns after massacre (on this page)

The prime minister, who knew some of the victims, has caught the national mood, urging his compatriots in a voice often cracking with emotion to unite around democratic values.

"We are even more aware of any dangers now than before the attack. But in general Norwegians want ... to defend themselves against violence by showing they are not afraid of violence."

Karl Johans Gate, is showered with flowers as Norwegians pay their respects to victims while nearby vendors gradually reopen for business.

On Tuesday, workers at a corner store about 150 yards from the blast painted the plywood boards put up in place of blown-out windows. Others were busy cleaning up inside.

"Fixing the glass (windows) will take a week or two and the wood looks better painted," said deputy store manager Aykan Bastas. "We will fix it up nicely, just like before."

Reuters contributed to this report.

Video: Norway nightmare survivors recall horror

  1. Closed captioning of: Norway nightmare survivors recall horror

    >> morales. good morning. of.

    >> good morning, everyone. new details this morning about the arrest of self-confessed ath terrorist anders breivik. good morning.

    >> police add more details. two minutes after they made it to the island, they found breivik on the ground with guns on the ground. police were air frad tofraid to approach him. they thought he was carrying a bomb. he want add lift.

    >> he stalked the teenagers like a shooting gallery on an island near oslo.

    >> really helpless.

    >> 360 miles to the north, a mother said she experienced the worst hour of her life. 5:42 the afternoon. she got the text message from hell.

    >> i told police there's a maniac going here.

    >> julie was hiding among the rocks while the killer hunted the teenagers and shot them one-by-one.

    >> reporter: another text.

    >> here she says, i love you. even though i yell at you sometimes. then i really almost broke down. because that was so -- so moving, so touching.

    >> reporter: for one hour, mother tried to hold it in. aztecs continued from the island of death . then at last, it's over. the killer surrendered to police. her brother had no idea about any of it. later he said he found it odd to get a text message from his twin sister saying, "i love 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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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.

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