Norway minister thanks police for fantastic work

July 26th, 2011 - 7:53 pm ICT by IANS  

Oslo, July 26 (IANS) Norway’s justice minister has thanked the police for their “fantastic” response after the deadly bombing and shooting in the capital Oslo that led to the death of at least 76 people.

Though Knut Storberget said it was “too early” to make any judgement, he was “very very happy to see all people engaging in discussion”, Sky News reported.

Storberget said a number of ministry staff were still missing after the blasts destroyed an Oslo office block.

“We have a very critical situation in the country, and of course the ministry of justice - people are expecting that we are working very hard through the days, but we don’t have any offices.”

“So we have had several challenges since this brutal thing happened, but we have managed to co-ordinate the work which has been done this week. I’m very, very proud of my civil service,” he said.

Police, however, faced strong criticism as to why they took more than an hour to reach Utoya island after Anders Breivik began his deadly shooting spree.

An estimated 150,000 people gathered in the capital Monday evening to mourn the dead and condemn the violence that the country witnessed.

The large crowd backed the police and applauded rescue workers during the rally.

Breivik, 32, has admitted bombing the capital and opening fire at the youth group on the Utoya island, but has pleaded not guilty.

He said he carried out the attack because he wanted to “save Norway and Western Europe from a Muslim takeover”.

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