17 dead in Norway twin attacks

July 23rd, 2011 - 8:32 am ICT by IANS  

Oslo, July 23 (IANS) Norway was hit by twin attacks Friday - a massive bomb blast in the capital Oslo and a shooting at a governing Labour Party youth camp. At least 17 people died in the two incidents, BBC reported.

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 10 people.

The gunman was arrested at the camp and the government confirmed that he is Norwegian.

Police said the 32-year-old suspect was also linked with the bomb attack.

Witnesses described the gunman as tall, blonde and said he was dressed as a policeman.

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.

“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.

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.”

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.”

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