Norway ripped by Oslo bomb, youth camp shootings

by
July 23, 2011

By NILS MYKLEBOST – Associated Press

OSLO, Norway (AP) — Norway’s peace was shattered twice Friday when a bomb ripped open buildings in the heart of its government and a man dressed as a police officer gunned down youths at a summer camp. Police linked one Norwegian to both attacks, which killed a total of at least 16 people in this nation’s worst violence since World War II.

Police said they did not know the motive or whether the attacks were the work of one person or a terrorist group, but Justice Minister Knut Storberget said the man who opened fire at the youth camp is Norwegian.

Hundreds of youths ran in terror at a camp on Utoya island where the prime minister had been scheduled to speak Saturday. Some even tried swimming to safety as the gunman fired.

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.

 

The shooting occurred after the bombing in Oslo, Norway’s capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded. The blast left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings in a dust-fogged scene that 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 seven people died in the Oslo blast, and another 9 or 10 people were killed at the camp, which was organized by the youth wing of the ruling Labor Party. Rescuers were to search to blast wreckage through the night for more victims, and Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said police fear there could be more victims at the camp as well.

Elise, the young camper, said she believes she saw more than 10 people killed.

Acting national Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said a man was arrested in the shooting, and the suspect had been observed in Oslo before the explosion there. Police did not immediately say how much time elapsed between the bombing and the attack at Utoya, about 20 miles (35 kilometers) northwest, but reports of the shooting began appearing on Twitter about two and a half hours after the bombing.

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 said several people were injured but he could not comment on their conditions.

To read more, visit: http://news.yahoo.com/norway-ripped-oslo-bomb-youth-camp-shootings-185204240.html

 

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