OSLO - The Norwegian far-right gunman who massacred 77 people last summer took to the stand for the first time on Tuesday at his trial, describing it as a sophisticated and spectacular attack.

"I have carried out the most sophisticated and spectacular political attack committed in Europe since the Second World War," Anders Behring Breivik told the court, reading from a prepared statement.

Breivik, 33, has pleaded not guilty and said he acted in defense of his country by setting off a car bomb that killed eight people at government headquarters in Oslo last July, then killing another 69 people in a shooting spree at a youth summer camp organized by the ruling Labor Party.

Breivik is due to take the stand for the next five days.

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