A gunman dressed in police uniform opened fire and was feared to have killed up to 30 people at a youth camp on a Norwegian island yesterday during a series of coordinated terrorist attacks. The shooting started soon after a bomb rocked the centre of Oslo killing at least seven and wounding many more in the first terrorist attack on the country's capital.
The gunman, described by witnesses as tall and Norwegian, pulled out a gun and started firing at groups of young people on Utoya island, many of whom jumped into the sea in an attempt to escape. He was arrested after he was shot and wounded.
The country's Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, spoke from a secret location last night to urge his countrymen not to be cowed by the attack. The blast was close to his office and he had been due to speak at the camp, organised by his ruling Labour Party, today.
Early suspicion fell on Islamist militants, in part because of the role of Norway in military campaigns in Afghanistan, but the description of the island gunman also raised the prospect of right-wing extremists.
The army ringed Oslo last night amid fears of further attacks while bomb disposal experts scoured the area.
By late yesterday afternoon, central Oslo, under a pall of smoke, resembled a battlefield: dozens of windows were blown out by the huge explosion while shell-shocked inhabitants and tourists wandered through broken glass and rubble, blood-smeared and bleeding from their wounds. Police said no one had claimed responsibility for the huge blast, which occurred without warning.
Speaking in a phone call to Norwegian television, Mr Stoltenberg described the attack as "very serious" and said he had been advised by police not to disclose his whereabouts. He confirmed that all the government's ministers were safe and unhurt.
"Some people covered with blood are lying in the street. There is glass everywhere. It is total chaos. The windows of all the surrounding buildings have been blown out," said Igunn Andersen, an eyewitness and journalist with Norwegian public radio reporting from the scene.
"Everyone is crying, people are frantically trying to reach loved ones on their mobile phones," one witness told Norwegian radio.
Islamic fundamentalist forums were yesterday reported to have described the Oslo blast as "cheering news". One user said: "Get your troops out of Afghanistan or you will see blood on the streets."Reuse content