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Norway: Bow-and-arrow attacker handed over to health services

The man who confessed to killing five people in the Norwegian town of Kongsberg is suspected to have had mental health issues. A full psychiatric evaluation has begun but will likely take months to complete.

An arrow is left in a wall at the scene where a man armed with bow killed several people before he was arrested by police in Kongsberg, Norway

The bow-and-arrow attack in Norway left four women and a man dead, all between the age of 50 and 70

A man who confessed to killing five people in a deadly bow-and-arrow attack in Norway was handed over to the care of health services, a prosecutor said Friday.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen went on a rampage through Kongsberg, a quiet town in southeastern Norway where he lived, on Wednesday night.

He attacked people in a store, as well as on the streets and in their homes. 

But doubts have arisen whether he can legally be held responsible for the attack.

"He was handed over to health services on Thursday evening after an evaluation of his health condition," prosecutor Ann Iren Svane Mathiassen told news agency AFP.

Two experts will observe and assess whether the man was sane at the time of the attack, Norwegian news media reported. 

A court in Kongsberg was to decide on Friday how long the man can be held, police said.

"We would like to have him in custody for at least four weeks," the prosecutor said, two of which will be in isolation.

If the judge grants the request, the man will remain under medical care instead of being jailed.

He will not be present in court at the time of the custody hearing, as he has already confessed to the killing and did not oppose a request to keep him in detention.

What do we know about the attack?

Wednesday's attack left four women and a man dead, all between the age of 50 and 70. Additionally, three people were injured.

The man was a convert to Islam and is believed to have been radicalized, police said.

Watch video 01:39

Norway mourns victims of Kongsberg attack

Police have said the incident was probably an act of terror, given the nature of weapons used and that the perpetrator attacked his victims randomly.

"There is no doubt that the actual act appears as if it could be an act of terror," Hans Sverre Sjovold, the head of Norway's intelligence service PST, told a news conference on Thursday.

"But it's important that the investigation continues and that we establish the motive of the suspect," he said.

The man is believed to have acted alone and police said he had not contested the detention request.

Full psychiatric evaluation pending

The possibility of mental health illness has not been ruled out yet.

A psychiatric evaluation of the attacker began on Thursday, the prosecutor said.

"It could take maybe a couple of months" before the evaluation is completed, Svane Mathiassen said.

The outcome of that evaluation could determine whether the man would face a prison sentence or whether he will instead be committed to psychiatric care.

adi/rc (AFP, AP, Reuters)