Norway suffered dual attacks on Friday when powerful explosions shook the government center here and, shortly after, a gunman stalked youths at an island summer camp for young members of the governing Labor Party. The police arrested a Norwegian in connection with both attacks, which killed at least 87 people and stunned this ordinarily placid nation.
The explosions, from one or more bombs, turned Oslo, a tidy Scandinavian capital, into a scene reminiscent of terrorist attacks in Beirut or Baghdad or Oklahoma City, panicking people and blowing out windows of several government buildings, including one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, who was unharmed.
Details are still coming together, but this definitely sounds like an act of terrorism. Media outlets in Norway are reporting that the alleged perpetrator of the shooting, thirty-two year old Anders Behring Breivik, had links with right wing extremist groups (surprise, surprise). His residence has already been searched by police.
At this time, authorities are not sure who was responsible for detonating the bombs. As mentioned, police have Breivik in custody.
As the bombs in Oslo were going off, he was apparently making his way to a Labour Party summer camp on Utøya, a privately owned island not far from the capital, deliberately intending to kill as many people as he could.
He reportedly lured many of his victims into shooting range by posing as a policeman and then opening fire on them when they got close.
What kind of human being does such a despicable, evil thing?
At the White House, President Barack Obama offered his condolences to the people of Norway in a joint appearance with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.
“I remember fondly my visit to Oslo and how warmly the people of Norway treated me,” the President said. “And so our hearts go out to them, and we’ll provide any support we can to them as they investigate these occurrences.”
“I echo your sympathies and concern for that situation in Norway,” Prime Minister John Key added moments later when it was his turn to speak. “If it is an act of global terrorism, I think what it shows is no country, large or small, is immune from that risk. And that’s why New Zealand plays its part in Afghanistan as we try and join others like the United States in making the world a safer place.”