Dailybhaskar.com | Last Modified - Jul 23, 2011, 04:56 PM IST
Norway was hit by twin attacks on Friday - a massive bomb blast in the capital Oslo and a shooting at a governing Labour Party youth camp in Utoeya island.
At least 91 people were killed on Friday in "catastrophic" twin attacks in Norway - a massive bomb explosion in the capital and a shooting at a governing Labour Party youth camp, police said. This is the first time such an apparent terrorist incident has happened in this Scandinavian nation of five million people, one of the least densely populated countries in Europe.
At least seven people were killed in the bombing, which inflicted huge damage on government buildings in Oslo.
A few hours later a gunman opened fire at the camp on an island outside Oslo, killing at least 84 people.
Norwegian police has arrested a suspect, later identified as Anders Behring Breivik, in connection with both attacks (Oslo blast, Utoeya shootout) , the deadliest on Norwegian soil since World War II.
After the shooting at Utoeya island, the investigators arrested a 32-year-old Norwegian man on the island, a New York Times report says. According to his Facebook page, Anders Behring Breivik, a suspected right-wing extremist, is not known to have any ties to Islamic extremists.
He had also been seen in Oslo before the blast near PM's office.
Witnesses described the gunman as tall, blonde and said he was dressed as a policeman.
Xinhua news agency said a gunman wearing police uniform and with police identification landed on the small island, about 40 km west of Oslo, shooting people at the camp two hours after the deadly bomb explosion rocked the government building quarters in the Norwegian capital.
The gunman in his 30s was described to be carrying a pistol and a rifle with telescopic sight. He started shooting a few minutes after he landed on Utoeya in the Buskerud county, Xinhua said.
Eyewitnesses said the man fired several shots into participants of an annual event of the Workers' Youth League. Some terrified young people jumped into water for safety.
The gunman was reported to have been armed with a handgun, an automatic weapon and a shotgun.
"He travelled on the ferry boat from the mainland over to that little inland island posing as a police officer, saying he was there to do research in connection with the bomb blasts," a journalist told BBC.
"He asked people to gather round and then he started shooting, so these young people fled into the bushes and woods and some even swam off the island to get to safety."
According to the report, the authorities have declined to say what the suspect’s motivations might have been, but many experts said that the target was Mr. Stoltenberg’s liberal government in Norway.
“The police have every reason to believe there is a connection between the explosions and what happened at Utoeya,” the New York Times quoted the Norwegian police as saying.
The report further says that Breivik has registered a farm-related business in eastern Norway and was involved in large quantity of ammonium nitrate fertiliser. Now, the investigators are probing whether the fertiliser may have been used in the bombing in Oslo.
According to his Facebook page, his religion as Christian and his political idea is conservative. He likes the books like Machiavelli’s 'The Prince' and George Orwell’s '1984.'
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, whose Oslo offices were among those damaged by the bomb, described the attacks as "bloody and cowardly".
He said Norway had been "shaken by evil" but that Norwegian democracy and ideals would not be destroyed. Also Read: Terror strikes Norway: UN General Assembly condemns attacks in Oslo, Utoya island
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called on Norwegians to remain calm and not to let panic spread.
Stoltenberg, whose Oslo offices were among those damaged by the bomb, described the attacks as "bloody and cowardly".
He said Norway had been "shaken by evil" but that Norwegian democracy and ideals would not be destroyed.
"We are a small nation and a proud nation. No-one will bomb us to silence, no-one will shoot us to silence," he said in a TV address.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
There are fears the number of dead from both attacks could rise.
Several people from the camp are still missing and rescue teams have been scouring the waters around the island after bodies were reportedly seen in the water.
Witnesses said that after the gunman started shooting, people jumped into the water to try to escape the bullets.
Emergency services have had difficulty accessing the buildings amid concerns about further possible explosions as well as fears the blast may have left buildings unstable.
Stoltenberg was due to visit the camp Saturday. Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store, who visited the camp Thursday, praised those who were attending.
"The country has no finer youth than young people who go for a summer camp doing politics, doing discussions, doing training, doing football, and then they experience this absolutely horrendous act of violence."
(With inputs from IANS)
(Image source: Facebook)