All of Norway, and those watching the events unfold around the world, was in shock after twin terror attacks rocked the nation on Friday. First, the bomb; then the massacre of children.
photo by @chaglen
The explosion in downtown Oslo blew out most of the windows of the government building that houses Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office. Stoltenberg confirmed that he is safe.
Seventy-seven people were killed on Friday in what was the worst attack on the nation since World War II. Most of the dead, 69, died at the youth camp on the island on Utoya. Seven people were killed in the bomb blast earlier in the day. A right-wing Christian nationalist named Anders Behring Breivik, 32, is believed to be behind the attacks. It is not yet known whether he acted alone.
That Facebook page has since been yanked, and it appears it was set up a few days ago.
photo by Norway’s NRK news agency
U.S. sources say that it was “a massive vehicle bomb.” Oslo police confirmed that it was “a bomb” but did not go so far as to say it was a car bomb. This mangled car was spotted at the scene:
How big was the blast? Here’s an illustration, courtesy of Joakim Vars Nilsen:
Other buildings in downtown Oslo have also been damaged, and offices in the area are being evacuated.
Another tragic incident unfolded hours later: A man disguised as a police officer walked into a Labour Party youth camp in Utoya and opened fire on the assembled crowd. Hadja Tajik, an MP with Norway’s ruling Labour party, said as many as 600 youths were attending the camp. There are reports that 10 people are dead. That is unconfirmed. The culprit is now in police custody. Police say the “tall, blond and Nordic-looking” man is related to the bombings.
Local media are reporting that police do not believe this was an act of international terrorism. They are operating under the theory that this was a local group working against the government.
Earlier the NY Times reported that a foreign terror group claim responsibility: “A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at C.N.A., a research institute that studies terrorism. The message said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad. ‘We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,’ the group said, according to Mr. McCants’ translation, apparently referred to a bombing in Sweden in December 2010. ‘What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.’ The claim could not be confirmed.”
Also, here’s some background on a 2010 plot against Norway: “Three people have been arrested in connection with a plot to bomb targets in Norway, police in Oslo have said. Two of the plotters were arrested in Norway and one in Germany, said the head of the Norwegian security police, Janne Kristiansen. The men – a Uighur from China, an Iraqi and an Uzbek – are said to have ties to al-Qaeda and to be linked to bomb plots in the US and UK, Ms Kristiansen said. The three, all Norwegian residents, had been under surveillance for a year.”
Norway’s Afterposten reported that people are “running around bewildered,” and some still have blood on their faces and hands. “You can smell the sulfur fumes,” Afterposten’s reporter said
Several blocks are reportedly covered with rubble from nearby buildings.
Athar Kaleem in Oslo emailed the BBC: “It was a massive explosion, I was at least 1km away from the scene but I felt the explosive in my feet. Everyone had the same feeling. It seems the explosion got very high shock waves as it broken the mirrors at quite larger distances. Now I am near the main place and city is in panic, grief and in tears.”
MSNBC’s Martin Fletcher reported that today is a national holiday in Norway. That may limit the number of casualties caused by the bomb at government offices.
AfterPosten posted this brutal pic of windows blown out on one building:
More as it comes…
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