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Saturday, July 23, 2011

87 dead in Norway shooting, bomb attack

Sulaiman Kamal | 11:52 AM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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Witnesses said the gunman moved across the Utoeya holiday island firing at random as young people scattered in fear.

OSLO:  A gunman dressed in police uniform opened fire at a youth camp of Norway’s ruling political party on Friday, killing at least 80 people, hours after a bomb killed seven in the government district in the capital Oslo.
“The updated knowledge we are sitting on now is at least 80,” police chief Oystein Maeland told a news conference.
“We can’t guarantee that won’t increase somewhat,” he said.

Witnesses said the gunman, identified by police as a 32-year-old Norwegian, moved across the small, wooded Utoeya holiday island firing at random as young people scattered in fear. Norwegian television TV2 said the gunman, described as tall and blond, had links to right-wing extremism.
It was the biggest attack in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191.
“I just saw people jumping into the water, about 50 people swimming toward the shore. People were crying, shaking, they were terrified,” said Anita Lien, 42, who lives by Tyrifjord lake, a few hundred metres (yards) from Utoeya island, northwest of Oslo.
“They were so young, between 14 and 19 years old.”
Many sought shelter in buildings as shots echoed across the island, ran into the woods or tried to swim to safety. Boats searched for survivors into the night, searchlights sweeping the coast. Helicopters flew overhead.
Police seized the gunman, who they believed was also linked to the bombing, and later found undetonated explosives on the island, a pine-clad strip of land about 500 metres long, to the northwest of Oslo.
The bomb, which shook the city center in mid-afternoon, blew out the windows of the prime minister’s building and damaged the finance and oil ministry buildings. Prime Minister Stoltenberg was not in the building at the time.
With police advising people to evacuate central Oslo, and some soldiers taking up positions on the streets, the usually sleepy capital was gripped by fear of fresh attacks. Streets were strewn with shattered masonry, glass and twisted steel.
Deputy Oslo police chief Sveining Sponheim told reporters that the gunman in the Utoeya shootings had been disguised in a blue police-style uniform but had never been a police officer.
The Oslo district attacked is the very heart of power in Norway. Nevertheless, 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.


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