/ 22 July 2011

Police fear Norway shooting and bomb blast connected

Police Fear Norway Shooting And Bomb Blast Connected

The bomb blast in central Oslo and a shooting at a political youth camp outside the capital are connected, Norwegian police said on Friday, according to state broadcaster NRK.

Norwegian police have arrested a suspect after a shooting where at least five people were injured on Friday, NRK said.

The shootings came shortly after a massive bomb blast hit central Oslo. On Friday evening, Reuters reported seven people killed and two were badly wounded in the blast. The explosion wrecked government buildings, including Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office.

The cause of the blast was unknown but the tangled wreckage of a car was outside one building and the damage appeared consistent to witnesses with that from car bombs.

The shooting was reported at a camp organised by the youth league of the Norwegian Labour Party. It was held at the Utoya island, located in a fjord west of the capital Oslo.

Scenes at the camp were reported to be chaotic as some of the youth apparently jumped into the fjord in attempt to flee the assailant.

The gunman, now arrested, was apparently in uniform, possibly masquerading as a police officer, NRK said.

Nato member Norway has sometimes in the past been threatened by leaders of al-Qaeda for its involvement in Afghanistan. It has also taken part the Nato bombing of Libya, where Muammar Gaddafi has threatened to strike back in Europe.

However, political violence is virtually unknown in the country.

David Lea, Western Europe analyst, at Control Risks said: “It’s very difficult to tell what has happened. There certainly aren’t any domestic Norwegian terrorist groups although there have been some al-Qaeda-linked arrests from time to time.

“They are in Afghanistan and were involved in Libya, but it’s far too soon to draw any conclusions.” — Sapa-dpa, Reuters, AFP