Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian man accused in the bombing and shooting spree in the Oslo area that killed 76 people last week, has pleaded not guilty in a hearing held behind closed doors, claiming his network has two other cells, according to a judge.

Breivik will be held for at least the next eight weeks and will be placed in complete isolation — unable to receive letters or visitors except his lawyer — for the first four, Oslo District Court Judge Kim Heger told reporters after Monday's closed-door session.

Meanwhile, police announced Monday that the death toll from Friday's bombing outside a government building in the capital rose by one to eight, while the number of fatalities in the attack hours later at a youth camp on an island near Oslo has been lowered to 68.

Heger said while Breivik acknowledged he was responsible for the attacks, the suspect believed he needed to carry out the acts in order to "save Norway and Western Europe from cultural Marxism and a Muslim takeover."

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Police take Anders Behring Breivik, left, from court following his hearing in Oslo on Monday, where he pleaded not guilty to Norway's deadliest attack since the Second World War. (Aftenposten/Jon-Are Berg-Jacobsen/Associated Press)

Breivik, who was charged under Norway's terrorism law, said he wished to induce "the greatest possible loss to the Labour Party" because he believed it had failed the country, Heger said.

The suspect said the operation "was not to kill as many people as possible, but to give a strong signal that cannot be misunderstood," according to the judge.

He also said Breivik claimed there were "two more cells in our organization" but didn't elaborate, saying only that it required further investigation. In a later news conference, police said they could not rule out that others were involved in the attacks.

Officials said Breivik said he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison.  The maximum prison sentence in Norway is 21 years, but convicts who pose a danger to society can be held after their sentence is up.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told reporters that Breivik was very calm and "seemed unaffected by what has happened."

A Norwegian police convoy carried Breivik to and from the courthouse for his arraignment. The hearing lasted 35 minutes.

Heger decided Monday to close the hearing to the public on a request from officials. Breivik  had requested an open hearing and had asked to wear a uniform, and had made clear in an internet manifesto that he planned to turn his court appearance into theatre.

"It is clear that there is concrete information that a public hearing with the suspect present could quickly lead to an extraordinary and very difficult situation in terms of the investigation and security," the court said in a statement.

The court acknowledged that there was a need for transparency in the case and that it normally would consider arguments from the press, but said that wasn't possible "for practical reasons."

The search for victims continues and police have not released their names. Police said Monday it has been very difficult to investigate because of the number of fatalities spread across a very large area, and because people were killed on Utoya Island itself and also at sea. The island was hosting a summer camp organized by the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labour Party.

Also Monday, French gendarmes searched the home in southern France of Breivik's father, Jens Breivik. The regional gendarme service would not comment on the search.

News reports have said Jens Breivik has not been in touch with his son in many years.

NATO bombing of Serbia 'tipped the scales'

As Norway grappled with its worst attack since the Second World War, shocking revelations in Anders Breivik's 1,500-page manifesto began to provide insight into the man who says the first step in his journey to becoming a mass killer began when he was a boy, during the first Gulf War, when a Muslim friend cheered at reports of missile attacks against U.S. forces.

"I was completely ignorant at the time and apolitical, but his total lack of respect for my culture (and Western culture in general) actually sparked my interest and passion for it," Breivik wrote.

Breivik says it was the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999 that "tipped the scales" for him because he sympathized with Serbia's crackdown on ethnic Albanian Muslims in Kosovo. A year later he said he realized that what he called the "Islamization of Europe" couldn't be stopped by peaceful means.

Breivik's manifesto chronicles events that deepened his contempt for Muslims and the "Marxists" he blamed for making Europe multicultural.

He suggests his friends didn't even know what he was up to, and comments from several people who had contact with the quiet, blond man suggest he was right.

Jack Levin, a professor at Northeastern University in Boston who has written a number of books on mass murderers, said the manifesto helps Breivik show himself as more human.

"It makes the killer look like a victim rather than a villain," Levin said.

From September 2009 through October 2010, Breivik posted more than 70 times on Dokument.no, a Norwegian site with critical views on Islam and immigration.

In one comment, he entertained the idea of a European movement along the lines of the Tea Party movement in the United States.  

In December of 2009, Breivik showed up at a meeting organized by the website's staff.

"He was a bit strange. As one could see from his postings, he had obviously read a lot but not really digesting it," said Hans Rustad, the editor of the website. However, Rustad said, he "hadn't the faintest idea" about Breivik's murderous plans.

"Other people have the same views on the net and they don't go out and become mass murderers, so how can you tell?" Rustad said.

Parents divorced

Breivik calls his upbringing in a middle-class home in Oslo privileged even though his parents divorced when he was a year old and he lost contact with his father in his teens. His parents split when the family lived in London, where Jens Breivik was a diplomat at the Norwegian Embassy in London.

A spokesman for the embassy, Stein Iversen, confirmed that Breivik had been employed at the embassy in the late 1970s, but wouldn't discuss his relationship with the Oslo suspect.

Anders Breivik said both parents supported Norway's centre-left Labour Party, which he viewed as infiltrated by Marxists.

'He was very quiet, almost shy. He seemed like a well-educated man. He was very well-dressed and very polite.' — Joeran Kallmyr, Oslo vice-mayor

His mother won a custody battle, but Breivik said he regularly visited his father and his new wife in France, where they lived, until his father cut off contact when Breivik was 15. The father told Norwegian newspaper VG that they lost touch in 1995, but that it was his son who wanted to cut off contact.

His father said Monday that he's ashamed and disgusted by his son's acts, telling a Swedish tabloid he wishes his son had committed suicide.

Breivik's mother lives in an ivy-covered brick apartment building in western Oslo, currently protected by police. Neighbours said they hadn't seen her since a few days before the shooting. Police said they've spoken to her and that she didn't know of her son's plans.

In his manifesto, Breivik says he had no negative experiences from his childhood, though he had issues with his mother being a "moderate feminist."

"I do not approve of the super-liberal, matriarchal upbringing though as it completely lacked discipline and has contributed to feminize me to a certain degree," he says.

Blames left-wing parties

In internet postings attributed to Breivik on Norwegian websites, Breivik blames Europe's left-wing parties for destroying the continent's Christian heritage by allowing mass immigration of Muslims.

He says he came in contact with like-minded individuals across Europe, and together they formed a military order inspired by the Knights Templar crusaders. Their goal was to seize power in Europe by 2083 in a string of coups d'état. Norwegian police couldn't say whether the group existed.

Unabomber influence

Part of Anders Breivik's manifesto was taken almost word for word from the first few pages of the anti-technology manifesto written by "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, the American serving a life sentence in federal prison for mail bombings that killed three people and injured 23 others across the U.S. from the 1970s to the 1990s. Breivik does not cite Kaczynski, though he does for many other people whose writings he uses.

In the document, Breivik styles himself as a Christian conservative, patriot and nationalist. He looks down on neo-Nazis as "underprivileged racist skinheads with a short temper."

The manifesto inveighs against multiculturalism, stating: "One of the most widespread manifestations of the craziness of our world is multiculturalism, so a discussion of the psychology of multiculturalists can serve as an introduction to the discussion of the problems of Western Europe in general."

Two European security officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak about the investigation said they were familiar with increased internet chatter from individuals claiming they belonged to a group called the new Knights Templar.

Breivik says he also tried to get engaged in domestic politics, in the Progress Party, a populist opposition party that calls for stricter immigration controls. He claims he was a popular party member who almost got elected to the Oslo city council seven years ago.

"That's just something he imagined," said Joeran Kallmyr, whom Breivik describes as his "rival" in the party.

Breivik attended only five or six party meetings during those two years and left the party quietly, said Kallmyr, now a vice-mayor of Oslo.

"He was very quiet, almost shy. He seemed like a well-educated man. He was very well-dressed and very polite. He wore a tie all the time," Kallmyr said. "I couldn't see any signs that he was coming apart."

Kallmyr said he only had one conversation with Breivik, a forgettable chat about Breivik's business. According to Breivik's manifesto, he was the director of Anders Behring Breivik ENK at the time, a business he describes as a "front" and a "milking cow" to finance "resistance/liberation related military operations."

He describes elsewhere in the document how he used his own companies to secure bank loans and credit to fund his attack.

With files from CBC News and The Canadian Press