Oslow, Norway: 80 Murdered In Youth Camp Shooting, 7 In Bomb Blast In Afternoon Of Unspeakable Horror: UPDATED

23 Jul

Man Held After 87 Killed In Norway Attacks

‘BEAT BACK THE FORCES OF DESTRUCTION’

In this photo taken by Vergard M. Aas, a Norwegian crime reporter who responded to the scene of a mass shooting on Utoya Island, Norway, victims lie near the shoreline approximately one hour after police say a man dressed as a police officer gunned down youths as they ran and even swam for their lives at a camp which was organized by the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party, Friday July 22, 2011. Police say the suspect in this shooting set off a fatal explosion hours earlier in the Norwegian capital of Oslo. (AP Photo/Presse 3.0, Vegard M. Aas)

In this photo taken by Vergard M. Aas, a Norwegian crime reporter who responded to …

An injured woman is assisted from a damaged building in Oslo, Friday July 22, 2011, after an explosion rocked the capital. Terrorism ravaged long-peaceful Norway on Friday when a bomb ripped open buildings including the prime minister's office and a man dressed as a police officer opened fire at a nearby island youth camp. (AP Photo/Scanpix, Morten Holm) NORWAY OUT

An injured woman is assisted from a damaged building in Oslo, Friday July 22, 2011, …

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A Norwegian who dressed as a police officer to gun down summer campers killed at least 80 people at an island retreat, horrified police said early Saturday. It took investigators several hours to begin the realize the full scope of Friday’s massacre, which followed an explosion in nearby Oslo that killed seven and that police say was set off by the same suspect.

The mass shootings are among the worst in history. With the blast outside the prime minister’s office, they formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings killed 191.

Police initially said about 10 were killed at the forested camp on the island of Utoya, but some survivors said they thought the toll was much higher. Police director Oystein Maeland told reporters early Saturday they had discovered many more victims.

“It’s taken time to search the area. What we know now is that we can say that there are at least 80 killed at Utoya,” Maeland said. “It goes without saying that this gives dimensions to this incident that are exceptional.”

Maeland said the death toll could rise even more. He said others were severely injured, but police didn’t know how many were hurt.

A suspect in the shootings and the Oslo explosion was arrested. Though police did not release his name, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK identified him as 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik and said police searched his Oslo apartment overnight. NRK and other Norwegian media posted pictures of the blond, blue-eyed Norwegian.

National police chief Sveinung Sponheim told NRK that the suspected gunman’s Internet postings “suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen.”

A police official said the suspect appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that “it seems like that this is not linked to any international terrorist organizations at all.” The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway’s police.

“It seems it’s not Islamic-terror related,” the official said. “This seems like a madman’s work.”

The official said the attack “is probably more Norway’s Oklahoma City than it is Norway’s World Trade Center.” Domestic terrorists carried out the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City, while foreign terrorists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

The official added, however, “it’s still just hours since the incident happened. And the investigation is going on with all available resources.”

The motive was unknown, but both attacks were in areas connected to the ruling Labor Party government. The youth camp, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) northwest of Oslo, is organized by the party’s youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there Saturday.

A 15-year-old camper named Elise said she heard gunshots, but then saw a police officer and thought she was safe. Then he started shooting people right before her eyes.

“I saw many dead people,” said Elise, whose father, Vidar Myhre, didn’t want her to disclose her last name. “He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water.”

Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. “I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock,” she said.

She said it was impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.

At a hotel in the village of Sundvollen, where survivors of the shooting were taken, 21-year-old Dana Berzingi wore pants stained with blood. He said the fake police officer ordered people to come closer, then pulled weapons and ammunition from a bag and started shooting.

Several victims “had pretended as if they were dead to survive,” Berzingi said. But after shooting the victims with one gun, the gunman shot them again in the head with a shotgun, he said.

“I lost several friends,” said Berzingi, who used the cell phone of one of those friends to call police.

The blast in Oslo, Norway’s capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings. Most of the windows in the 20-floor high-rise where Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his administration work were shattered. Other buildings damaged house government offices and the headquarters of some of Norway’s leading newspapers.

The dust-fogged scene after the blast reminded one visitor from New York of Sept. 11.

Ian Dutton, who was in a nearby hotel, said people “just covered in rubble” were walking through “a fog of debris.”

“It wasn’t any sort of a panic,” he said, “It was really just people in disbelief and shock, especially in a such as safe and open country as Norway. You don’t even think something like that is possible.”

Police said the Oslo explosion was caused by “one or more” bombs.

The police official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the Oslo bombing occurred at 3:26 p.m. local time (1:26 p.m. GMT), and the camp shootings began one to two hours later. The official said the gunman used both automatic weapons and handguns, and that there was at least one unexploded device at the youth camp that a police bomb disposal team and military experts were working on disarming.

The suspect had only a minor criminal record, the official said.

Sponheim said seven people were killed by the blast in downtown Oslo, four of whom have been identified, and that nine or 10 people were seriously injured.

Sponheim said a man was arrested in the shooting, and the suspect had been observed in Oslo before the explosion there.

Sponheim said the camp shooter “wore a sweater with a police sign on it. I can confirm that he wasn’t a police employee and never has been.”

Aerial images broadcast by Norway’s TV2 showed members of a SWAT team dressed in black arriving at the island in boats and running up the dock. Behind them, people who stripped down to their underwear swam away from the island toward shore, some using flotation devices.

Sponheim said police were still trying to get an overview of the camp shooting and could not say whether there was more than one shooter. He would not give any details about the identity or nationality of the suspect, who was being interrogated by police.

Oslo University Hospital said 12 people were admitted for treatment following the Utoya shooting, and 11 people were taken there from the explosion in Oslo. The hospital asked people to donate blood.

Stoltenberg, who was home when the blast occurred and was not harmed, visited injured people at the hospital late Friday. Earlier he decried what he called “a cowardly attack on young innocent civilians.”

“I have message to those who attacked us,” he said. “It’s a message from all of Norway: You will not destroy our democracy and our commitment to a better world.”

NRK showed video in Oslo of a blackened car lying on its side amid the debris. An AP reporter who was in the office of Norwegian news agency NTB said the building shook from the blast and all employees were evacuated. Down in the street, he saw one person with a bleeding leg being led away from the area.

An AP reporter headed to Utoya was turned away by police before reaching the lake that surrounds the island, as eight ambulances with sirens blaring entered the area. Police blocked off roads leading to the lake.

The United States, European Union, NATO and the U.K., all quickly condemned the bombing, which Britain’s Foreign Secretary William Hague called “horrific” and NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen deemed a “heinous act.”

“It’s a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring,” President Barack Obama said.

Obama extended his condolences to Norway’s people and offered U.S. assistance with the investigation. He said he remembered how warmly Norwegians treated him in Oslo when he accepted the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009.

Nobel Peace Prize Chairman Thorbjorn Jagland said it appeared the camp attack “was intended to hurt young citizens who actively engage in our democratic and political society. But we must not be intimidated. We need to work for freedom and democracy every day.”

A U.S. counterterrorism official said the United States knew of no links to terrorist groups and early indications were the attack was domestic. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the investigation was being handled by Norway.

At least two Islamic extremist groups had tried to take credit for the attacks. Many intelligence analysts said they had never heard of Helpers of Global Jihad, which took initial credit. The Kurdish group Ansar al-Islam also took credit on some jihadist web sites.

Norway has been grappling with a homegrown terror plot linked to al-Qaida. Two suspects are in jail awaiting charges.

Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported from the Scandinavian country. The indictment centered on statements that Mullah Krekar — the founder of Ansar al-Islam — made to various news media, including American network NBC.

Terrorism has also been a concern in neighboring Denmark since an uproar over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad six years ago.

___

Ritter reported from Stockholm. Associated Press reporters Bjoern H. Amland in Hoenefoss, Norway, Louise Nordstrom in Stockholm, Matthew Lee and Rita Foley in Washington, Paisley Dodds in London, and Paul Schemm in Tripoli, Libya, contributed to this report.

NEWS UPDATE:

SUNDVOLLEN, Norway (AP) — The man in the police uniform shouted for the campers to come closer. When they did, he killed them.

The gunman who killed at least 80 people at an island youth camp northwest of Oslo used his disguise to lure in his victims, then shot them twice to make sure they were dead, survivors said in the village of Sundvollen, where they were taken after the massacre.

“I saw many dead people,” said 15-year old Elise, whose father, Vidar Myhre, didn’t want her to disclose her last name. She just feet away from the gunman when he opened fire in the camp on Utoya island.

Elise said she had just come out from an information meeting in a nearby building when she heard gunshots. She saw a police officer and thought she was safe, but then he started shooting.

“He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water,” she said.

Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. “I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock,” she said.

In panic, the girl phoned her parents, whispering to them what was going on.

“They told me not to panic and that everything would be OK.” Her parents also told her to get rid of a brightly colored jacket she was wearing to not draw attention to herself.

She said it was impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.

Survivors described a scene of sheer terror at the camp, which is organized by the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labor party. Hundreds of young people were eagerly awaiting a speech the prime minister was to give there Saturday.

Police said the man arrested in the shooting is Norwegian and had set off a bomb that killed seven people outside the prime minister’s headquarters in Oslo, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) from the camp.

Several of the survivors seemed calm as anxious parents picked them up at a Sundvollen hotel, but the stories they told were of utter terror.

Dana Berzingi said the fake police officer ordered people to come closer, then pulled weapons and ammunition from a bag and started shooting.

Several victims “had pretended as if they were dead to survive,” the 21-year-old said. But after shooting the victims with one gun, the gunman shot them again in the head with a shotgun, he said.

“I lost several friends,” said Berzingi, whose pants were stained with blood. He said he used the cell phone of one of his fallen friends to call police.

Emilie Bersaas, identified by Sky News television as one of the youths on the island, said she ran inside a school building and hid under a bed when the shooting started.

“At one point the shooting was very, very close (to) the building, I think actually it actually hit the building one time, and the people in the next room screamed very loud,” she said.

“I laid under the bed for two hours and then the police smashed a window and came in,” Bersaas said. “It seems kind of unreal, especially in Norway. This is not something that could happen here.”

Another camper, Niclas Tokerud, stayed in touch with his sister through the attack through text messages.

“He sent me a text saying ‘there’s been gunshots. I am scared (expletive). But I am hiding and safe. I love you,'” said Nadia Tokerud, a 25-year-old graphic designer in Hokksund, Norway.

As he boarded a boat from the island after the danger had passed he sent one more text: “I’m safe.”

NEWS UPDATE:

Smoke rises from the central area of Oslo Friday, July 22, 2011 after an explosion. …

Smoke rises from the central area of Oslo Friday, July 22, 2011 after an explosion. Terrorism ravaged long-peaceful Norway on Friday when a bomb ripped open buildings including the prime minister's office and a man dressed as a police officer opened fire at a nearby island youth camp. (AP Photo/Scanpix, Jon Bredo Overaas)  NORWAY OUT

STOCKHOLM (AP) — The 32-year-old suspected of massacring at least 80 young people at a summer camp and setting off a bomb in downtown Oslo that killed at least seven is a mystery to investigators: a right-winger with anti-Muslim views but no known links to hardcore extremists.

“He just came out of nowhere,” a police official told The Associated Press.

Public broadcaster NRK and several other Norwegian media identified the suspected attacker as Anders Behring Breivik, a blond and blue-eyed Norwegian who expressed right-wing and anti-Muslim views on the Internet.

Norwegian news agency NTB said Breivik legally owned several firearms and belonged to a gun club. He ran an agricultural firm growing vegetables, an enterprise that could have helped him secure large amounts of fertilizer, a potential ingredient in bombs.

But he didn’t belong to any known factions in Norway’s small and splintered extreme right movement, and had no criminal record except for some minor offenses, the police official told AP.

“He hasn’t been on our radar, which he would have been if was active in the neo-Nazi groups in Norway,” he said. “But he still could be inspired by their ideology.”

He spoke on condition of anonymity because those details had not been officially released by police. He declined to name the suspect.

Neo-Nazi groups carried out a series of murders and robberies in Scandinavia in the 1990s but have since kept a low profile.

“They have a lack of leadership. We have pretty much control of those groups,” the police official said.

Breivik’s registered address is at a four-story apartment building in western Oslo. A police car was parked outside the brick building early Saturday, with officers protecting the entrance.

National police chief Sveinung Sponheim told public broadcaster NRK that the gunman’s Internet postings “suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen.”

A Facebook page under Breivik’s name was taken down late Friday. A Twitter account under his name had only one Tweet, on July 17, loosely citing English philosopher John Stuart Mill: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.”

Police where interrogating the man, first at the scene of the shooting, and later at a police station in Oslo.

“It’s strange that he didn’t kill himself, like the guys that have carried out school shootings,” the police official told AP. “It’s a good thing that he didn’t because then we might get some answers pointing out his motivation.”

He said the attacks appeared to be the work of a lone madman, without links to any international terrorist networks. The attack “is probably more Norway’s Oklahoma City than it is Norway’s World Trade Center,” he said referring to the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City by domestic terrorists.

Investigators said the Norwegian carried out both attacks — the blast at the prime minister’s office in Oslo and the shooting spree at the left-wing Labor Party’s youth camp — but didn’t rule out that others were involved. But the police official said it wouldn’t be impossible for one man to carry out the attacks on his own.

“He’s obviously cold as ice. But to get close to the government is easy. The streets are open in that area,” he said.

___

Associated Press writer Bjoern H. Amland in Oslo contributed to this report.

NEWS UPDATE:

Reuters) – A gunman killed at least 80 people at a youth camp of Norway’s governing Labor Party on Friday, just hours after a bomb ripped through the central government district in Oslo, killing seven.

Norwegian police have detained a 32-year-old Norwegian man, named by local media as Anders Behring Breivik, in connection with both attacks. There were reports of his links with right-wing extremism

WILL MCCANTS, FORMER U.S. STATE DEPT ADVISER ON COUNTERING VIOLENT EXTREMISM

“We’ve never seen anything like this. A right-wing extremist bombs the nerve-center of his home nation and then massacres dozens of his fellow citizens miles away.”

“I will be shocked it he pulled it off alone. But if he did, it not only raises concerns about the rise of right-wing violence in Europe but also the rise of the super-empowered lone wolf.”

JAKUB GODZIMIRSKI, SENIOR RESEARCH FELLOW AT NORWEGIAN INSTITUTE OF INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Godzimirski said the attacks were more likely the work of a right-winger than Islamist militants.

“It would be very odd for Islamists to have a local political angle. The attack on the Labor youth meeting suggests it’s something else. If Islamists wanted to attack, they could have set off a bomb in a nearby shopping mall rather than a remote island.

“This attack has more in common with the Oklahoma City bombing than an Islamist attack.”

JONATHAN PARIS, INTERNATIONAL Center FOR THE STUDY OF RADICALISATION, KING’S COLLEGE LONDON

“We do know that al Qaeda would have a motive to do this…but beyond that we don’t have any evidence at this time that there’s a definite link to al Qaeda,” he told Britain’s Sky News. But the attacks could also be the work of “homegrown right-wing zealots.”

SAJJAN GOHEL, ASIA-PACIFIC FOUNDATION

“What was the ideological motivation, was it local or trans-national? Norwegian nationals have traveled abroad for terrorist training and in the past there have been linkages to Iraq, the Central Asian republics and Xinjiang in China.

“An attack in Norway followed by failed plots in Sweden in December 2010 and against the (Danish) Jyllands-Posten newspaper highlight that Scandinavian countries are in the firing line for terrorist activities. It seems no longer a factor that countries like Norway and Sweden are immune from terrorism because of their neutral foreign policies.”

(Reporting by William Maclean and Wojciech Moskwa, Editing by Matthew Jones)

NEWS UPDATE:

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Video: Norway Camp Shooting: ‘As Many As 30 Dead’ 

Man Held After 87 Killed In Norway Attacks

Man Held After 87 Killed In Norway Attacks

A 32-year-old Norwegian suspect has been arrested after at least 87 people were killed in two attacks in Norway.

At least seven people died in Oslo after a huge car bomb exploded close to buildings which house the offices of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg .

A further 80 were killed when a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on the island of Utoya where a youth meeting of the ruling Labour Party was taking place.

The suspect being held in connection with both attacks has been named in media reports as Anders Behring Breivik.

Police are understood to have searched a flat in west Oslo where the man lived.

An anonymous police official said the suspect was arrested in Utoya and appears to have acted alone in the attacks.

He added he did not think the attacks were “linked to any international terrorist organisations” but seemed to be the work of a “madman”.

Norway’s TV2 claimed the suspect has links to right-wing extremism, without disclosing its sources.

An eyewitness reported seeing between 25 and 30 bodies on Utoya island.

Police have confirmed that 10 people were killed, but said that was a preliminary figure which they expected to rise.

Undetonated explosives were found on the island after police carried out a search.

 Around 600 people were believed to be taking part in the summer camp – most of whom were teenagers aged between 14 and 18.

The Prime Minister had been due to attend the event on Saturday.

Mr Stoltenberg said that Norway would gain strength from the attacks.

“We are a small country, but a very proud one,” he said.

“Nobody can bomb us to be quiet. Nobody can shoot us to be quiet.  Nobody can ever scare us from being Norway.”

Police said the 32-year-old suspect was linked to the bombing in Oslo because of descriptions they had been given.

Sky sources said he was shot and wounded during the arrest.

Sky’s senior news correspondent Ian Woods is in Oslo and said that the island is around 20 miles from the capital.

He said that although police would not confirm whether other people were involved, it was possible the gunman had worked alone as there was a 90-minute gap between the two incidents.

Witnesses said the gunman moved across the small, wooded Utoya holiday island firing at random as young people fled in fear.

Jorgen Benone was on the island and said he saw people being shot by the man .

He said he saw people jumping into the water to try and save themselves, but he thought that “many lost their lives trying to escape”.

“I was terrified for my life – I thought of all the people I love,” he said.

 The Mayor of Oslo, Fabian Stang, said he would not have believed Norway could be attacked.

He said he wished he could have been on Utoya island: “To stand in front of the young people and ask the gunman to shoot me instead.”

Norwegian journalist Kadafi Zanan said police had sealed off the area and were only letting families onto the island.

Mr Zanan said that people in boats were searching in the water for those who were still missing.

 Witnesses said the gunman might have had a pistol and an automatic weapon.

Police told people in the Norwegian capital to stay away from the city centre and asked them to only use mobile phones when necessary.

They also warned them to avoid large gatherings and to stay away from public buildings.

Borders out of Norway were closed within minutes of the attack.

 At least seven people were killed in the bombing outside the government buildings – with 10 seriously injured.

The blast shook the city centre, blowing out the windows of Mr Stoltenberg’s offices and damaging the finance and oil ministry buildings.

Mr Stoltenberg was not in the building at the time.

Briton Craig Barnes, who lives in Oslo, said that he was shocked at what happened.

“It is a very nice, safe place to live,” he said.

“Norwegians are very friendly and I think everyone gets on.

“I think this is going to change a lot of views now. There will be questions regarding safety.”

British Prime Minister David Cameron said he was outraged by the attacks.

“I have offered Britain’s help, including through our close intelligence cooperation,” he said.

“We will work with Norway to hunt the murderers who did this and prevent any more innocent deaths.”

US President Barack Obama also offered his condolences.

He visited Oslo in 2009 to receive the Nobel Peace Prize and said he fondly recalled his welcome by the Norwegians.

“Our hearts go out to them and we will provide any support we can,” he said.

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