11 dead in bomb and gun attack in Norway (Third Lead)

July 23rd, 2011 - 1:35 am ICT by IANS  

Oslo, July 23 (IANS) A bomb attack near the office of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg Friday left at least seven people dead, while four more were killed when a gunman opened fire at a youth camp near the capital, BBC reported.

Stoltenberg described the situation as “very serious”.

The blast was followed by a fatal shooting incident at a youth meeting of the Labour Party, which Stoltenberg leads, near Oslo.

Norwegian media said at least four people were killed when a man opened fire indiscriminately. Police said the suspected gunman had been arrested, TV2 reported.

Hours after the bomb struck Oslo, officials said some people were still inside the damaged buildings, some of which were on fire.

Television footage from the government quarter showed rubble and glass from shattered windows in the streets and smoke from the fires drifting across the city.

The wreckage of at least one car could be seen. All roads into the city centre have been closed, said national broadcaster NRK.

Security officials evacuated people from the area fearing another blast, it added.

Stoltenberg, in a telephone call to Norwegian television, said all government ministers were safe.

He said he had been advised by police not to reveal his current location.

Egil Vrekke, assistant chief constable of Oslo police told the BBC the rescue operation was ongoing.

“We are issuing warnings just (to) make sure people are not in the area in case there are further explosions,” he told the BBC.

“We have cordoned off large areas. There are bomb experts at the scene investigating whether there are other devices in the area.”

A spokesman for Oslo University hospital said 10 people had been taken there for treatment, some with serious injuries.

A few hours after the explosion, reports emerged of the shooting at a Labour Party youth camp in Utoeya, an island outside the capital.

TV2 said at least four people had been killed and several injured. There were reports a gunman was wearing a police uniform.

Stoltenberg, who had been due to visit the camp Saturday, told TV2 the situation in Utoeya was critical.

State Secretary Kristian Amundsen said Friday was a public holiday in Norway so the government offices were not as busy as they might usually have been.

“But there are many hundreds of people in these buildings every day,” he told the BBC.

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