Oslow, Norway: Police Still Searching For More Massacre Victims: UPDATED

24 Jul

LATEST NEWS UPDATE:

EDS NOTE: IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED BY THE ORIGINAL SOURCE TO REMOVE THE BACKGROUND - This image shows Anders Behring Breivik from a manifesto attributed to him that was discovered Saturday, July 23, 2011. Breivik is a suspect in a bombing in Oslo and a shooting on a nearby island which occurred on Friday, July 22, 2011. The Norwegian news agency NTB said Breivik wrote a 1,500-page manifesto before the attack in which he attacked multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. The document, which contained this and other photos, also described how to acquire explosives. (AP Photo/via Scanpix)

EDS NOTE: IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED BY THE ORIGINAL SOURCE TO REMOVE THE BACKGROUND …

EDS NOTE: IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED BY THE ORIGINAL SOURCE TO REMOVE THE BACKGROUND - This image shows Anders Behring Breivik from a manifesto attributed to him that was discovered Saturday, July 23, 2011. Breivik is a suspect in a bombing in Oslo and a shooting on a nearby island which occurred on Friday, July 22, 2011. The Norwegian news agency NTB said Breivik wrote a 1,500-page manifesto before the attack in which he attacked multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. The document, which contained this and other photos, also described how to acquire explosives. (AP Photo/via Scanpix)

 

EDS NOTE: IMAGE HAS BEEN DIGITALLY ALTERED BY THE ORIGINAL SOURCE TO REMOVE THE BACKGROUND …

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Police arrived at an island massacre about an hour and a half after a gunman first opened fire, slowed because they didn’t have quick access to a helicopter and then couldn’t find a boat to make their way to the scene just several hundred yards (meters) offshore. The assailant surrendered when police finally reached him, but 85 people died before that.

Survivors of the shooting spree have described hiding and fleeing into the water to escape the gunman, but a police briefing Saturday detailed for the first time how long the terror lasted — and how long victims waited for help.

The shooting came on the heels of what police told The Associated Press was an “Oklahoma city-type” bombing in Oslo’s downtown: It targeted a government building, was allegedly perpetrated by a homegrown assailant and used the same mix of fertilizer and fuel that blew up a federal building in the U.S. in 1995.

In all, at least 92 people were killed in the twin attacks that police are blaming on the same suspect, 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik.

“He has confessed to the factual circumstances,” Breivik’s defense lawyer, Geir Lippestad, told public broadcaster NRK. Lippestad said his client had also made some comments about his motives.

“He’s said some things about that but I don’t want to talk about it now,” the lawyer told NRK.

Norwegian news agency NTB said the suspect wrote a 1,500-page manifesto before the attack in which he attacked multiculturalism and Muslim immigration. The manifesto also described how to acquire explosives and contained pictures of Breivik, NTB said. Oslo police declined to comment on the report.

A SWAT team was dispatched to the island more than 50 minutes after people vacationing at a campground said they heard shooting across the lake, according to Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim. The drive to the lake took about 20 minutes, and once there, the team took another 20 minutes to find a boat.

Footage filmed from a helicopter that showed the gunman firing into the water added to the impression that police were slow to the scene. They chose to drive, Sponheim said, because their helicopter wasn’t on standby.

“There were problems with transport to Utoya,” where the youth-wing of Norway’s left-leaning Labor Party was holding a retreat, Sponheim said. “It was difficult to get a hold of boats.”

At least 85 people were killed on the island, but police said four or five people were still missing.

Divers have been searching the surrounding waters, and Sponheim said the missing may have drowned. Police earlier said there was still an unexploded device on the island, but it later turned out to be fake.

The attack followed the explosion of a bomb packed into a panel truck outside the building that houses the prime minister’s office in Oslo, according to a police official

“It was some kind of Oklahoma City-type bomb,” said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because police hadn’t released the information.

Seven people were killed, and police said there are still body parts in the building. The Oslo University hospital said it has so far received 11 wounded from the bombing and 19 people from the camp shooting.

Police have charged Breivik under Norway’s terror law. He will be arraigned on Monday when a court decides whether police can continue to hold him as the investigation continues.

Authorities have not given a motive for the attacks, but both were in areas connected to the Labor Party, which leads a coalition government.

Even police confessed to not knowing much about the suspect, but details trickled out about him all day: He had ties to a right-leaning political party, he posted on Christian fundamentalist websites, and he rented a farm where police found 9,000-11,000 pounds (4,000-5,000 kilograms) of fertilizer.

Police said the suspect is talking to them and has admitted to firing weapons on the island. It was not clear if he had confessed to anything else he is accused of.

“He has had a dialogue with the police the whole time, but he’s a very demanding suspect,” Sponheim said.

Earlier in the day, a farm supply store said they had alerted police that he bought six metric tons of fertilizer, which can be used in homemade bombs. That’s at least one metric ton more than was found at the farm, according to police.

Police and soldiers were searching for evidence and potential bombs at the farm south of Oslo on Saturday. Havard Nordhagen Olsen, a neighbor, told The Associated Press that Breivik moved in about one moth ago, just next to his house and said he seemed like “a regular guy.”

Olsen said he recognized his neighbor in the newspapers this morning and said he was in shock.

Meanwhile, Mazyar Keshvari, a spokesman for Norway’s Progress Party — which is conservative but within the political mainstream — said that the suspect was a paying member of the party’s youth wing from 1999 to 2004.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called the tragedy peacetime Norway’s deadliest day.

“This is beyond comprehension. It’s a nightmare. It’s a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends,” Stoltenberg told reporters Saturday.

Gun violence is rare in Norway, where the average policeman patrolling in the streets doesn’t carry a firearm. Reports that the assailant was motivated by political ideology were shocking to many Norwegians, who pride themselves on the openness of their society. Indeed, Norway is almost synonymous with the kind of free expression being exercised by the youth at the political retreat.

King Harald V, Norway’s figurehead monarch, vowed Saturday that those values would remain unchanged.

“I remain convinced that the belief in freedom is stronger than fear. I remain convinced in the belief of an open Norwegian democracy and society. I remain convinced in the belief in our ability to live freely and safely in our own country,” said the king.

The monarch, his wife and the prime minister led the nation in mourning, visiting grieving relatives of the scores of youth gunned down. Buildings around the capital lowered their flags to half-staff. People streamed to Oslo Cathedral to light candles and lay flowers; outside, mourners began building a makeshift altar from dug-up cobblestones. The Army patrolled the streets of the capital, a highly unusual sight for this normally placid country.

The city center was a sea of roadblocks Saturday, with groups of people peering over the barricades wherever they sprang up, as the shell-shocked Nordic nation was gripped by reports that the gunman may not have acted alone. Police have not confirmed a second assailant but said they are investigating witness reports.

The queen and the prime minister hugged when they arrived at the hotel where families are waiting to identify the bodies. Both king and queen shook hands with mourners, while the prime minister, his voice trembling, told reporters of the harrowing stories survivors had recounted to him.

On the island of Utoya, panicked teens attending a Labour Party youth wing summer camp plunged into the water or played dead to avoid the assailant in the assault. A picture sent out on Twitter showed a blurry figure in dark clothing pointing a gun into the water, with bodies all around him.

The carnage hours earlier in Oslo, when a bomb rocked the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings.

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

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

Elise, whose father didn’t want her to disclose her last name, 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 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.

Earlier, the police official who spoke on condition of anonymity 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, while foreign terrorists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

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.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II wrote to Norway’s King Harald to offer her condolences and express her shock and sadness at the shooting attacks in his country.

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.

___

Nordstrom reported from Stockholm. Associated Press reporters Bjoern H. Amland in Spundvollen, Norway, Nils Myklebost Oslo, Karl Ritter in Stockholm, Rita Foley in Washington, Paisley Dodds in London, and Paul Schemm in Tripoli, Libya, contributed to this report.

NEWS UPDATE:

A picture of Anders Behring Breivik taken from a book downloaded from a link posted on the Norwegian discussion website, www.freak.no, and entitled "2083 - A European Declaration of Independence", is seen in this screen grab

A picture of Anders Behring Breivik taken from a book downloaded from a link posted …

Rescue personnel push an injured victim away from the camp site in Utoeya

Rescue personnel push an injured victim away from the camp site in Utoeya

Article: Norway massacre suspect driven by “crusade”

Reuters

Article: YouTube video apparently shows Norway killer with gun

SUNDVOLLEN, Norway (Reuters) – A suspected right-wing fanatic accused of killing at least 92 people deemed his acts “atrocious” yet “necessary” as Norway mourned victims of the nation’s worst attacks since World War Two.

Police were hunting on Sunday to see if a possible second gunman took part in the shooting massacre and bomb attack on Friday that traumatized a normally peaceful Nordic country.

In his first comment via a lawyer since he was arrested, 32-year-old Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik expressed willingness to explain himself in court at a hearing likely to be held on Monday about extending protective custody.

“He has said that he believed the actions were atrocious, but that in his head they were necessary,” lawyer Geir Lippestad told independent TV2 news.

Police said Breivik gave himself up after admitting to a massacre in which at least 85 people died, mostly young people attending a summer camp of the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labour Party on an idyllic island.

Breivik was also arrested for the bombing of Oslo’s government district that killed seven people hours earlier. Norway’s toughest sentence is 21 years in jail.

Survivors, relatives of those killed and supporters planned a procession to mourn the dead at Sundvollen on Sunday, near the island where the massacre took place.

King Harald would attend a service in Oslo cathedral, a few hundred meters (yards) from where a bomb devastated government buildings including the offices of Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Police said they were seeking several missing people and the toll could rise to 98, in the worst case.

Lippestad, speaking late on Saturday, did not give more details of possible motives by Breivik.

Breivik hated “cultural marxists,” wanted a “crusade” against the spread of Islam and liked guns and weightlifting, web postings, acquaintances and officials said.

A video posted to the YouTube website showed several pictures of Breivik, including one of him in a Navy Seal type scuba diving outfit pointing an automatic weapon.

“Before we can start our crusade we must do our duty by decimating cultural marxism,” said a caption under the video called “Knights Templar 2083” on the YouTube website, which took down the video on Saturday.

A Norwegian website provided a link to a 1,500 page electronic manifesto which says Breivik was the author. It was not possible to verify who posted the video or wrote the book.

“Once you decide to strike, it is better to kill too many than not enough, or you risk reducing the desired ideological impact of the strike,” the book said.

Norway has traditionally been open to immigration, which has been criticized by the Progress Party, of which Breivik was for a short time a member. The Labour Party, whose youth camp Breivik attacked, has long been in favor of immigration.

About 100 people stood solemnly early on Sunday at a makeshift vigil near Oslo’s main church, laying flowers and lighting candles. Soldiers with guns and wearing bullet-proof vests blocked streets leading to the government district.

“We are all in sorrow, everybody is scared,” said Imran Shah, a Norwegian taxi driver of Pakistani heritage, as a light summer drizzle fell on unusually empty Oslo streets.

“At first, people thought Muslims were behind this,” he said of some initial suspicions that the attacks might have been by Al Qaeda perhaps in protest at NATO-member Norway’s role in Afghanistan or Iraq.

Some terrified survivors of the shooting rampage said bullets came from at least two sides.

“We are not at all certain” about whether he acted alone, police chief Sveinung Sponheim said. “That is one of the things that the investigation will concentrate on.”

Police took almost 1.5 hours to stop the massacre, the worst by a single gunman in modern times. “The response time from when we got the message was quick. There were problems with transport out to the island,” he said, defending the delay.

Witnesses said the gunman, wearing a police uniform, was able to shoot unchallenged for a prolonged period. He picked off his victims on Utoeya island northwest of Oslo forcing youngsters to scatter in panic or to jump into the lake to swim for the mainland.

“I heard screams. I heard people begging for their lives and I heard shots. He just blew them away,” Labour Party youth member Erik Kursetgjerde, 18, told Reuters.

“I was certain I was going to die,” he said. “People ran everywhere. They panicked and climbed into trees. People got trampled.”

The bloodbath was believed to be the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times.

The suspect, tall and blond, owned an organic farming company called Breivik Geofarm, which a supply firm said he had used to buy fertilizer — possibly to make the Oslo bomb.

Home-grown anti-government militants have struck elsewhere in the past, notably in the United States, where Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995.

The district attacked is the heart of power in Norway. But security is not tight in a country unused to such violence and better known for awarding the Nobel Peace Prize and mediating in conflicts, including the Middle East and Sri Lanka.

(Additional reporting by Walter Gibbs, Anna Ringstrom, Henrik Stoelen, Terje Solsvik, Patrick Lannin, Johan Ahlander, Wojciech Moskwa, John Acher and Ole Petter Skonnord in Oslo, William Maclean in London; Writing by Alister Doyle; Editing by Matthew Jones)

—————–

Police in Norway are still hunting for victims of the shooting spree and bomb attack that left at least 92 people dead.

Norway mourns - Shocked people gather in Oslo

Norway mourns – Shocked people gather in Oslo

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

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

Injured youngsters are looked after by rescue workers

Injured youngsters are looked after by rescue workers

At least 17 dead in twin Norway attacks

Norwegian police are searching for more victims and a possible second gunman after a suspected right-wing zealot killed up to 98 people in a shooting spree and bomb attack that have traumatised the country.

32-year-old Norwegian Anders Behring Breivik was arrested after yesterday’s massacre of young people on a tiny forested holiday island that was hosting the annual summer camp for the youth wing of Norway’s ruling Labour party.

Breivik was also charged for the bombing of Oslo’s government district that killed seven people hours earlier.

If convicted on the terrorism charges, he would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police said.

Speaking on Norwegian television this evening, a lawyer for Breivik said his client had ‘admitted responsibility’ for his actions.

Geir Lippestad said Breivik believed his actions were ‘atrocious’ but ‘necessary’ and was willing to explain himself in court on Monday.

Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.

Witnesses said the gunman, wearing a police uniform, went on a prolonged shooting orgy on Utoeya island northwest of Oslo, picking off his prey unchallenged as youngsters scattered in panic or jumped in the lake to swim for the mainland.

A police SWAT team eventually arrived from Oslo, 30 km away, to seize Breivik after nearly 90 minutes of firing, acting police chief Sveinung Sponheim told a news conference.

‘We don’t know yet’ if he acted alone, Sponheim said, adding that Breivik had surrendered immediately and had confessed.

Mr Sponheim said 85 people were known to have died in the shooting and seven in the Oslo bomb blast. The overall death toll could reach 98 if some missing people proved to have died.

Police gave no figure for the number wounded in Norway’s worst violence since World War II.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, sharing the shocked mood in this normally safe, quiet country of 4.8 million, said: ‘A paradise island has been transformed into a hell.’

Labour Party youth member Erik Kursetgjerde described the panic on Utoeya when the gunman began shooting.

‘I heard screams. I heard people begging for their lives and I heard shots. He just blew them away. I was certain I was going to die,’ Mr Kursetgjerde, 18, said outside a hotel in the nearby town of Sundvollen, where many survivors were taken.

‘People ran everywhere. They panicked and climbed into trees. People got trampled.’

The killer, dressed as a policeman, ‘would tell people to come over: ‘It’s OK, you’re safe, we’re coming to help you.’ And then I saw about 20 people come towards him and he shot them at close range,’ he said.

Mr Kursetgjerde said he ran and hid between cliffs, then swam into the lake and nearly drowned. ‘Someone (in a boat) rescued me. They saved my life.’

Norwegian NRK television showed blurred pictures taken from a helicopter of a man, apparently in police uniform, standing with his arm outstretched amid numerous victims, some prone on the rocky shore, others floating in the water.

‘This lasted for hours,’ Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference, describing the killings on the island northwest of Oslo where about 600 young people had gathered.

The bloodbath was believed to be the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times.

Police combed the island and the lake, even using a mini-submarine to search the water, police inspector Bjoerne Erik Sem-Jacobsen said. ‘We don’t know how many people were on the island, therefore we have to search further.”

The suspect, tall and blond, owned an organic farming company called Breivik Geofarm, which a supply firm said he had used to buy fertiliser – possibly to make the Oslo bomb.

It was not clear if Breivik, a gun club member according to local media, had more than one weapon or whether he had stocked ammunition on Utoeya, where police found explosives.
Initial speculation after the Oslo blast had focused on Islamist militant groups, but it appears that only Breivik – and perhaps unidentified associates – was involved.

Far-right views

Officials pointed to Breivik’s far-right views. ‘I think it’s appropriate to underline that politically motivated violence that Norway has seen in the modern age has come from the extreme rightist side,’ Mr Stoere, the foreign minister, said.

Home-grown anti-government militants have struck elsewhere in the past, notably in the US, where Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995.

Mr Breivik’s Facebook page was blocked, but a cached version describes a conservative Christian from Oslo.

The profile veers between references to lofty political philosophers and gory popular films, television shows and video games. The Facebook account appears to have been set up on July 17. The site lists no ‘friends’ or social connections.

Breivik’s profile lists interests including hunting, political and stock analysis, with tastes in music ranging from classical to trance, a hypnotic form of dance music.

The Norwegian daily Verdens Gang quoted a friend as saying Breivik became a right-wing extremist in his late 20s. It said he expressed strong nationalistic views in online debates and had been a strong opponent of multi-culturalism.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and many world leaders, condemned the Norway attacks. ‘This tragedy strikes right at the heart of the soul of a peaceful people,’ she said.

Condolences

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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