Oslow, Norway: 98 People May Have Died In Gun & Bomb Attacks: Police

23 Jul

As many as 98 people may have been killed in twin bomb and gun attacks in Oslo and at a youth camp on an island near the Norwegian capital.

Local media report that 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik is being held in connection with the attacks

Local media report that 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik is being held in connection with the attacks

Rescuers tend to a frightened woman on Uteoya

Rescuers tend to a frightened woman on Uteoya

Injured youngsters are looked after by rescue workers

Injured youngsters are looked after by rescue workers

Police stand guard outside the address of suspect

Police stand guard outside the address of suspect

Seven people reported dead in Oslo bombing

Seven people reported dead in Oslo bombing

Rescue teams worked through the night to find people

Rescue teams worked through the night to find people

A Norwegian swat team lands on Utoeya as terrified young people cower nearby

A Norwegian swat team lands on Utoeya as terrified young people cower nearby

Jens Stoltenberg comforts Eskil Pedersen, the leader of the Norwegian Labour Youth league

Jens Stoltenberg comforts Eskil Pedersen, the leader of the Norwegian Labour Youth league

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At least 17 dead in twin Norway attacks

A gunman dressed in police uniform opened fire at a youth camp of Norway’s ruling political party, killing at least 85 people, hours after a bomb killed seven in the government district in the capital Oslo.

Police say the death toll is likely to rise.

Witnesses said the gunman, identified by police as a 32-year-old Norwegian who they believed was linked with the bombing, moved across the small, wooded Utoeya holiday island firing at random as young people scattered in fear.

Norwegian television TV2 said the gunman detained by police was described as tall and blond and had links to right-wing extremism.

One 16-year-old witness told Norway’s Aftenposten that she ‘saw a policeman stand there with earplugs. He said ‘I’d like to gather everyone’. Then he ran in and started shooting at people. We ran down towards the beach and began to swim.’

She said the gunman fired at people in the water.

Many sought shelter in buildings as shots echoed across the island that was hosting the annual camp for the youth wing of the Labour Party.

Terrified youngsters fled into the woods or tried to swim to safety.

Boats searched for survivors into the night, searchlights sweeping the coast. Rescue helicopters flew overhead.

Television footage showed small leisure craft trying to offload injured youngsters, some screaming and moaning.

The bomb, which shook the city centre in mid-afternoon, blew out the windows of the prime minister’s building and damaged the finance and oil ministry buildings.

The Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, was not in the building at the time.

He told a press conference this morning that his youth paradise of Utoeya had turned into hell.

Mr Stoltenberg said no motive had been established for the attacks, but that the police investigation was just beginning.´

He said he knew many of those caught up in the attacks and that what happened at Utoeya was a national tragedy.

The Prime Minister said: ‘It’s beyond comprehension and it’s like a nightmare. A nightmare for the young who were killed, for their close ones; mothers, fathers and siblings who were brutally confronted with death. But also for the survivors and their kin.

‘Each and everyone who was present at Uteoya is damaged for life. Young people have experienced things every person should be spared – fear, blood and death’.

Mr Stoltenberg later flew by helicopter to a hotel in the town of Sundvollen where many survivors were taken for counselling and police interviews. Relatives converged on the hotel.

After Mr Stoltenberg’s arrival, police detained and handcuffed a man outside the hotel. The man told reporters he had been stopped because he had a knife in his pocket.

Norway’s King and Queen also visited the hotel to meet with survivors.

Police said there were not ‘concrete reports’ of a second gunman on the island. But acting police chief Sveinung Sponheim said authorities were working on the hypothesis that several people may have been involved.

Deputy police chief Roger Andresen told a news conference declined to comment on the possible motive for the killings, but said: ‘We have no more information than … what has been found on (his) own websites, which is that is goes towards the right (wing) and that it is, so to speak, Christian fundamentalist.’

Police seized the gunman, named by local media as Anders Behring Breivik, and later found undetonated explosives on the island.

Breivik’s Facebook page appeared to have been blocked by late evening. Earlier, it had listed interests including bodybuilding, conservative politics and freemasonry.

Norwegian media said he had set up a Twitter account a few days ago and posted a single message on 17 July saying: ‘One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests.’

About 10 police officers were outside the address registered to his name in a four-story red brick building in west Oslo.

The Department of Foreign Affairs says there are no reports of Irish casualties following the attacks.

President Mary McAleese has sent her condolences to King Harald of Norway on behalf of the Irish people.

The Tanaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs has described the attacks as a ‘huge tragedy for the people of Norway’.

Eamon Gilmore signed a book of condolence this afternoon, opened by Labour Youth, at the Labour Party’s headquarters in Dublin.

He invited others to sign the book online on Labour Youth’s website or at the headquarters on Ely Place from Monday.

Mr Gilmore said he had conveyed his sympathies on behalf of the Government to the Norwegian Prime Minister.

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