The suspect in Norway's twin attacks that killed at least 92 people admitted responsibility Saturday and said the carnage was long planned as the nation mourned victims of its worst violence since World War II.
Anders Behring Breivik, 32, was arrested for allegedly shooting at least 85 people dead at a youth Labour Party meeting on an island and killing seven more in a car bomb explosion which ripped through government buildings in Oslo.
"He admitted responsibility," Behring Breivik's lawyer Geir Lippestad told Norway's NRK television channel. While there was no official confirmation of the man's identity, he was widely named as Anders Behring Breivik by local media.
"He explained that it was cruel but that he had to go through with these acts," Lippestad said, adding that the attacks were "apparently planned over a long period of time."
A rambling 1,500-page tract apparently written by Behring Breivik said he has been preparing the "martyrdom operation" since at least autumn 2009.
The Internet document -- part diary, part bomb-making manual and part political rant in which he details his Islamophobia -- explains how he set up front mining and farming businesses to prepare the attacks for which he was arrested on Friday.
"The reasoning for this decision is to create a credible cover in case I am arrested in regards to the purchase and smuggling of explosives or components to explosives -- fertiliser," the tract says.
As harrowing testimony emerged from the summer camp where scores of youngsters were mown down, Norway was struggling to understand how a country famed as a beacon of peace could experience such bloodshed on its soil.
"Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime on this scale," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told journalists as police searched for more bodies on the idyllic Utoeya island near Oslo.
"Many of those who have died were friends. I know their parents and it happened at a place where I spent a long time as a young person... It was a paradise of my youth that has now been turned into hell."
The toll could rise further as the search continued for four or five people still missing from the island, aided by a mini-submarine and Red Cross scuba divers.
National police commissioner Sveinung Sponheim said investigators were still trying to establish whether a second shooter was present on the island, as suggested by certain witness accounts.
Blond-haired Behring Breivik described himself on his Facebook page as "conservative", "Christian", and interested in hunting and computer games like World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2, reports said.
He also described himself as director of Breivik Geofarm, an organic farm that may have given him access to chemicals used in the production of explosives.
A sole message on his Twitter account, dated July 17, was based on a quote from British philosopher John Stuart Mill, reading: "One person with a belief is equal to a force of 100,000 who have only interests."
Police spokesman Roger Andersen described the suspect as a "Christian fundamentalist," adding that his political opinions leaned "to the right."
The head of the populist right-wing Progress Party (FrP) confirmed Behring Breivik had been a party member between 1999 and 2006 and for several years a leader in its youth movement.
He stopped paying his subscription before ending his membership, according to the party.
"Those who knew the suspect when he was a member of the party say that he seemed like a modest person that seldom engaged himself in the political discussions," Siv Jensen said in a statement on the FrP website.
Anti-fascist monitors, meanwhile, said Behring Breivik was also a member of a Swedish neo-Nazi Internet forum named Nordisk, which hosts discussions on topics ranging from white power music to political strategies for crushing democracy.
The attacks on Friday afternoon were western Europe's deadliest since the 2004 Madrid bombings, carried out by Al-Qaeda.
While there had been initial fears they might have been an act of revenge over Norway's participation in the campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya, the focus shifted when it emerged the suspect was a native Norwegian.
The first attack was a car bomb which seared through landmark buildings including Stoltenberg's office and the finance ministry. It is thought that the car-bomber then caught a ferry to nearby Utoeya island wearing a police sweater.
On arrival, he claimed to be investigating the bomb attack and began opening fire with an automatic weapon. The shooting spree lasted for an hour and a half.
Witnesses described scenes of horror among the more than 500 people attending the youth camp. Some who tried to swim to safety were even shot in the water.
Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, 23, said that people initially thought it was some kind of joke before she and her friends realised their lives were in danger.
"We ran and ran. The worst thing was when we found out the shooter was dressed as a policeman. Who could we trust then? If we called the police, would he be the guy (who) would come to our 'rescue'?," she wrote on her blog.
She and her friend Matti swam towards the mainland as the gunman fired into the water. After a while, a boat picked them up and brought them to safety.
"I have heard stories about people swimming over the lake, people hiding under stones and almost being shot at, so there are some terrible stories. We have agreed in our groups that we won't talk about the most terrible because it goes only to the media," said visibly shocked 17-year-old survivor Miriam Einangs.
Stine Haheim, a Labour party lawmaker who was on the island, said the gunman had carried out his killings methodically.
"He was very calm. He was not running, he was moving slowly and shooting at every person he saw," she said.
Stoltenberg, as he visited some of the survivors, spoke of his own anguish at the massacre on an island to which he was a frequent visitor. He had been due to give a speech on Saturday to the camp, organised by his Labour party.
Norwegian police said they feared there could also be explosives on the island. According to a spokeswoman for a farming cooperative, the suspect bought six tonnes of fertiliser -- which can be used to make bombs -- in May.
There was widespread international condemnation, with U.S. President Barack Obama saying the attacks were "a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring".
Pope Benedict XVI was "profoundly saddened" by news of the attacks, the Vatican's Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone said in an open letter to Norway's King Harald V.
Meanwhile, in the heart of Oslo, the tributes piled up in front of the city's cathedral Saturday. Groups of friends, couples, whole families -- they all came to pay their respects.
Nearby the soldiers stood watch: an unusual site in the Norwegian capital. But the nearby government sector, where Friday's bomb went off, was still sealed off as investigators continued their work.
Tone Bjorkli, accompanied by her friend Mirja, added a small wreath of white flowers to the growing collection.
"It's quite scary to see all that on the telly," said the 31-year-old artist. "But on the other hand, its comforting to come here and see everybody so moved."
But then as they pointed out, it was not as if they could think of anything else but Friday's bombing that killed seven people in the government district; and the killing spree that followed on Utoeya island, not far from the capital.
"It's the only thing that people are talking about," said Tone. "We need to get it all out."
Among those paying their tribute to the dead here were members of the royal family, who came to light candles.
Beside Tone and Mirja in the crowd, stood Farid Omar, a 23-year-old Burundian who has lived in Norway for seven years.
He had come, he said, to show "that it's not just the Norwegian people who are affected. I too, as an immigrant, I can say that it's shameful what has happened".
It had brought back memories of the violence in Burundi, he added. But he would have never expected something like this to happen in Norway.
As a Muslim Farid confessed to being relieved that the main suspect in the killings was a Norwegian, "because if not it would have destroyed the multiculturalism that exists here.
"Look, there are foreigners everywhere, there are 24,000 Somalis in central Oslo alone," he added.
Nor was Farid the only immigrant among the thousands filing through the cathedral.
"There are even veiled Muslims who have come here to the cathedral," Pastor Anne Anita Lilleboe, the university chaplain, said. She had volunteered to help organize the day's mourning.
Inside the cathedral, couples leaned against each other as dozens of people filed past the chapel, lit up by hundreds of candles. The pastor estimated that some 400 people were paying their respects here every hour.
The cathedral, along with the Sundvolden Hotel outside the capital where survivors of the shooting were being sheltered and counselled, has become a focus of the wave of grief and compassion that has swept so many people here.
And all across the city, the flags were at half-mast.
Outside in the courtyard, 64-year-old Einar Andresen, on the verge of tears, hugged his friend Nicolas.
"It's the worst crime that I have ever know in Norway," he said, his voice tight with emotion.
"I needed to go to the church with a lot of people. I'm not anyone importat, but's important that we are all together," he said.
"These children...," said Nicolas, thinking of the victims of the shooting. "I have no sympathy with the Labour Party -- but good grief, if I don't like someone I'm not going to take a gun and kill him."
Barely 50 meters away, small groups of people were gathered on the edge of the cordoned-off area where the car bomb wrought havoc in the government quarter.
Soldiers in full battle gear and carrying automatic weapons stood guard as the locals and tourists gazed at the devastated facades of the buildings, windows shattered by the force of the blast.
Several nearby shops were not open for business: "Closed because of the situation," said one sheet of paper.
Linn Elese Amundsen, a 24-year-old student and her photographer friend Nichlas Andersen had thought of their own gesture. Both wore "I love Oslo" t-shirts, the word "love" represented by a heart.
"When I woke up, I thought that this was the day to put it on," said Linn.
"I still can't believe it, this is little Norway here, nothing usually happens to us."
But she added: "Today, I think all this brings people together, it brings people closer."© 2011 Agence France-Presse