(some radio reports in Norway are claiming that 30 people have been shot in the gun attack at the trainee base outside of Oslo)
By ELISA MALA and J. DAVID GOODMAN
Published: July 22, 2011
- Sign OSLO — Powerful explosions shook central Oslo on Friday afternoon, blowing out the windows of several government buildings, including one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister. The state television broadcaster, citing the police, said seven people were killed and at least 15 injured; a spokeswoman for the prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was “safe and not hurt.”
SCANPIX, via Associated Press
Deadly explosions shattered windows on Friday at the government headquarters in Oslo, which includes the prime minister’s office. A spokeswoman for Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said he was safe.
The Lede Blog: Video of Oslo Explosion Aftermath (July 22, 2011)
The New York Times
Shortly after the explosions, which appeared to be a bomb attack, a man dressed as a police officer opened fire on a summer camp for young members of the ruling Labor Party on the island of Utoya in the Oslo fjord, about 25 miles from the city, and wounded at least five, a Norwegian security official said.
“The situation’s gone from bad to worse,” said Runar Kvernen, spokesman for the National Police Directorate under the Ministry of Justice and Police, adding that most of the children at the camp were between 15 and 16 years-old. There were initial reports that Mr. Stoltenberg was scheduled to attend a meeting at the camp.
As fear spread through the capital, the police moved to lock down a wide area of the city center, where the streets were already nearly deserted.
The attacks appeared to be part of a coordinated assault on the ordinarily peaceful Scandinavian nation, as images of the damaged government buildings called to mind past terror attacks in Beirut or Baghdad or Oklahoma City.
Though the police did not immediately connect the explosions with terrorism, the mangled wreckage of a car could be seen in front of the main government building, flipped on its side, and a large area of the sidewalk appeared heavily damaged around it. Reports in local media said officials were assuming it was a deliberate bombing.
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 referring 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.
Norway is a member of the NATO alliance and has a small fighting contingent in Afghanistan. It was one of several countries named by Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, as potential targets for attack. In 2006, Norwegian newspapers reprinted Danish cartoons that angered Muslims by lampooning Muhammad. Norway has also historically been a frequent participant in peacekeeping missions and a host for diplomatic talks, including the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of the Norwegian Parliament.
Muslim leaders in Norway swiftly condemned the attacks. “This is our homeland, this is my homeland; I condemn these attacks and the Islamic Council of Norway condemns these attacks, whoever is behind them,” said Mehtab Afsar, secretary general of the Islamic Council of Norway.
Norwegian news media, citing the police, said the shooting suspect at the camp had been arrested.
There is more at the NYT site linked at the top