Gunman kills 85 at Norwegian youth camp, blast kills 7 in Oslo

July 24th, 2011 - 12:48 am ICT by BNO News  

OSLO (BNO NEWS) — What was supposed to be a paradise for youth turned into hell on late Friday afternoon when a gunman opened fire at a tiny island in Norway, killing at least 85 people. An earlier blast in the capital of Oslo killed seven people.

The attacks began at around 3.26 p.m. local time when at least one huge explosion rocked the Government quarter in Oslo, which houses the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and a number of other government office buildings. Police believe the blast was caused by a car bomb.

Photos and videos from the scene showed enormous devastation in parts of the Government quarters. Fires could be seen burning, bodies on the ground, windows shattered and debris from buildings covered the road.

“Oslo center was hit by a very serious explosion. All available emergency personnel are at the scene, and all available resources have been put into action,” said Stoltenberg. “This is a very serious situation, and my thoughts at this time go to all who have been affected.”

As armed police, soldiers, anti-terrorism units from the region rushed to the Norwegian capital due to confusion over the cause of the blast, one gunman dressed as a police officer made his way to Utoya island where the Labour Party’s annual Workers’ Youth League (AUF) youth summer camp was being held.

The gunman, later identified as 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, reportedly told staff on the tiny island near Oslo that he was carrying out a routine inspection in light of the attack in Oslo. There were approximately 700 people, many of whom were between the ages of 14 and 25.

But shortly after arriving at the island by boat, Breivik opened fire, reportedly executing young people in groups while others tried to flee by jumping into the cold water. Oslo Mayor Fabian Strang said the response to the explosion in Oslo may have delayed the response to the shooting.

“Last night it became clear that what happened on the Labour Youth summer camp at Utoya yesterday is a national tragedy,” Stoltenberg said on Saturday. It took police hours to realize the scope of the tragedy, which left at least 85 people killed on Utoya and seven in Oslo. In addition, more than 100 people are believed to have been injured, although no official number has been released.

Oslo police have charged Breivik for both the attack in Oslo and on Utoya, although it remains unclear if he was the only one involved and what his motives are. His flats were being searched on Saturday and Breivik had no previous convictions.

But Oslo police said postings online indicates he has a right-wing, Christian-fundamentalist orientation. He also posted a single message on the social networking website Twitter on Sunday, saying: “One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100 000 who have only interests.”

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