Friday, July 22, 2011

Developing: Bombing in Oslo Norway and Shootings At Youth Camp; Multiple Casualties Reported

Multiple casualties are being reported with at least two confirmed dead in a massive explosion in downtown Oslo, Norway, near the Prime Minister's office.
Oslo police said the explosion was caused by a bomb, the NTB news agency said.

A Reuters correspondent counted at least eight injured people.

The blast blew out most windows on the 17-story building housing Stoltenberg's office, as well as nearby ministries including the oil ministry, which was on fire.

Heavy debris littered the streets and a tall plume of brown smoke rose over the city center. The tangled wreckage of a car could be seen near the blast site.

The Reuters correspondent said the streets had been fairly quiet in mid-afternoon on a Friday in high summer, when many Oslo residents take vacation or leave for weekend breaks.

Government minister Hans Kristian Amundsen told the U.K.'s BBC News that there were believed to be a number of people trapped in the building.

"We are trying to stay focused, and we are focused, on the rescue operation," he told the BBC.
Reports of shootings at a Labor Party Youth Camp are now confirmed with at least 5 casualties. Allegedly, someone dressed in a police uniform opened fire on crowds at a youth camp near Oslo.

This may be related to the bombing in Oslo, but no way to know for sure.

Based on the speculative reporting, it seems that some terror group was attempting to carry out attacks against the Prime Minister and major political targets. Police operations are ongoing at a youth camp.

According to Midnight Watcher:
“30 mins ago, a man posing as a police officer has fired several shots at a Labour Party Youth convention, over 700 people attending, on Utøya, an island west of Oslo. It has been reported that the man in a police uniform identified himself as a police officer when boarding the boat to the island. He said it was a ‘routine control’ in connection with the terrorist bombing earlier in Oslo city.

The shooter has not been caught as yet and people are hiding where they can. The police have sealed off the island.

It has not been confirmed that the Oslo bombing and Shooter incidents are connected.
Multiple casualties are reported and there's quite a lot of confusion.

The two incidents may be related to each other, particularly since the youth camp had a political component and that leading politicians were expected to speak at various points during the current and upcoming week.
Around 1,000 young Labour supporters gathered at Utøya last Wednesday for a five-day summer camp. Prime Minister Stoltenberg, Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and former Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland were due to make appearances over the course of the week, reports.

The BBC reports that Stoltenberg was not supposed to be on Utøya today, but that the former Prime Minister was due to speak on the island today.

Norwegian journalist Ketil B Stensrud tweeted this afternoon that there had been “reports of shots fired and people ‘swimming’ away in despair” at the location.

The Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg confirmed that a situation was developing at Utøya, but did not give any details: ”There is a critical situation at Utøya, and several ongoing operations as we speak,” Stoltenberg said.
There's lots of speculation around whether Libya or pro-Libyan terror groups are involved in the actions. Thus far no one has come forward to claim responsibility for the attacks.

It looks like that there were at least two significant explosions, although the second explosion could have been a secondary blast and not the result of a bomb:

Via BBC, very bad news about the events on Utøya:
Eyewitness Andre Scheie told NRK: "There are very many dead by the shore... There are about 20-25 dead." Mr Scheie also said he saw people dead in the water at the camp.
An eyewitness has told the Norway national broadcaster NRK that he saw more than 20 bodies at the Labour Party youth camp in Utoeya.
Mr Stoltenberg tells Norwegian broadcaster NRK: "Co-workers have lost their lives today... It's frightening. That's not how we want things in our country.
The shooter involved in the youth camp shootings has apparently been taken into custody. While the BBC reports that no one has come forward to claim responsibility, although other reports indicate that a new group calling itself Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami has claimed responsibility.
A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at C.N.A., a research institute that studies terrorism. The message said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad. “We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,” the group said, according to Mr. McCants’ translation, apparently referring to a bombing in Sweden in December 2010. “What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.” The claim could not be confirmed.

Norway is a member of the NATO alliance and has a small fighting contingent in Afghanistan. It was one of several countries named by Ayman al-Zawahri, the leader of Al Qaeda, as potential targets for attack. In 2006, Norwegian newspapers reprinted Danish cartoons that angered Muslims by lampooning Muhammad. Norway has also historically been a frequent participant in peacekeeping missions and a host for diplomatic talks, including the 1993 Oslo Accords between Israel and the Palestinians. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded by a committee of the Norwegian Parliament.

Muslim leaders in Norway swiftly condemned the attacks. “This is our homeland, this is my homeland; I condemn these attacks and the Islamic Council of Norway condemns these attacks, whoever is behind them,” said Mehtab Afsar, secretary general of the Islamic Council of Norway.
Authorities indiciate that these were coordinated attacks, including targeting the Prime Minister's offices.

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