Sunday, July 24, 2011


Ninety-two dead in Oslo twin terrorist attacks

  • Sunday, July 24, 2011
  • Arunthathi Kanagaratnam
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  • At least 92 people died in the twin terrorist attacks in Norway on Friday, Norwegian police said yesterday. Both attacks are believed to have been carried out by a 32-year-old Norwegian identified as Anders Behring Breivik who was later arrested.

    Seven people died in a powerful car bomb attack in central Oslo near the Prime Minister’s office around 2.30 p.m.

    One hour later, a person dressed as a police officer opened fire at youth attending a camp run by the ruling Labour Party in the isolated Utoya Island, about 50 kms away from Oslo.

    Eighty-five young people died in this shooting spree, one of the worst such incidents anywhere in the world.

    The twin attacks saw the biggest death toll in Norway since World War II.

    It was also the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings which killed 191.

    The lone attacker has been described as a Christian fundamentalist with right-wing connections. Norwegian television TV2 said the man had been charged with the bomb blast and the shooting incident. This was the first terrorist attack in Norway, which has a reputation for being one of the most peaceful countries. All countries condemned the dastardly attacks.

    “What happened in Utoeya is a national tragedy.

    It was a youth paradise turned into hell,” Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said of the small wooded holiday island that was hosting the annual camp for the Labour Party’s youth wing where he had spent many summers in his childhood.

    “Not since World War II has our country seen a greater crime.”

    “It’s beyond comprehension and it’s like a nightmare. A nightmare for the young who were killed, for their close ones; mothers, fathers and siblings who were brutally confronted with death and also for the survivors and their kin,” said Stoltenberg.“I have a message for those who attacked us,” he said. “It’s a message from Norway: You will not destroy our democracy and our commitment to a better world.”

    Reports said the man in the police uniform shouted at the campers to come closer. When they did, he killed them. The gunman used his disguise (as a police officer) to lure his victims, then shot them twice to ensure they were dead, survivors said in the village of Sundvollen, where they were taken after the massacre.

    Police are still searching the waters around the island for any survivors or bodies, based on accounts that many had tried to swim to safety. However, eyewitnesses who escaped the carnage said he shot at those who tried to swim to the mainland.

    Police director Oystein Maeland said they had discovered many more victims. “It’s taken time to search the area. What we know now is that at least 84 died in Utoya,” Maeland said.

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