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Anders Breivik: I planned three bombings

Confessed mass killer Anders Breivik says his original plans for a terror attack was for three bombings, possibly including the Norwegian royal palace.

He told a court he planned to bomb Oslo's government district and the Labour Party's office and a third target.

The three bombs would be followed by several shooting massacres, if he survived, he said.

He decided against multiple bombs because building one was "much more difficult than I thought".

The anti-Muslim extremist set off a bomb in the government district on July 22 last year before travelling to a youth camp on Utoya island, where he shot dead 69 people.

Breivik has confessed to the bomb and shooting rampage, but rejects criminal guilt saying he was acting to protect Norway and Europe.

"There would be three car bombs, followed by a firearm-based action," Breivik told the Oslo court.

A total of 77 people were killed in his car bomb and shooting attacks.

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 Labour Party.

He had several options for the third target.

"I settled on the palace in a setting where the royal family wouldn't be hurt," he said. "Most nationalists and cultural conservatives are supporters of the monarchy, including myself."

Breivik told the court: "When I reached a situation where it was impossible to make more than one bomb, it resulted in a strategy of one bomb and one shooting-based action."

His preferred targets for the shooting massacre was an annual conference of Norwegian journalists or the Labour Party's annual meeting. But he could not get prepared in time, so he decided on striking against the summer retreat of the Labour Party's youth wing.

He 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.

"I estimated the chances of survival as less than 5%," he said.

Breivik, who styles himself as a modern-day crusader, says 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.

"Militant nationalists are split in two," Breivik said. "One half says you should attack Muslims and minorities. The other half says you should attack elites, those who are responsible."

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.

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 on Wednesday, Prosecutor Svein Holden asked him how he thought the bereaved watching the proceedings in court would react to that.

"They probably react in a natural way, with horror and disgust," Breivik said. He said he smiled because he knew where Holden was going with his line of questioning.

The main point of his defence 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.

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