Following a bombing and shooting in Norway on Friday at locations linked to the Prime Minister, it has been confirmed that over 70 people died – mostly on the island Utøya where the leader was scheduled to give a talk to a youth camp.
Initial reports were of 80 fatalities, but on Sunday police said that 67 people had died in the Utøya shooting and 8 people had died in the Oslo bombing.
The Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, made a speech on Saturday 23rd July saying:
“Not since the Second World War has the country experienced such an atrocity…
…It is incomprehensible.
It is like a nightmare…
…Young people have experienced things that no one should have to experience. Fear, blood and death.
I am unable to express with words how deeply I sympathise with all who have been hit.”
The government met at the weekend to discuss the tragedy and flags in the capital were flown at half mast. Monday saw a minute’s silence observed at midday. Initial reports mentioned Islamists as the possible perpetrators, but a Norwegian man is now widely believed to be behind the attacks, as Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store explained on Monday:
“Friday afternoon and evening, many began to believe, as we do when reflexes are triggered when something happens and there is an apparent “match” with how we have thought in familiar patterns and categories: Islamic extremism, holy war, the international terrorist networks. Some commentators and researchers went out and explained about who, how and why.
“So it was not quite so. There was something else, no less monstrous, it was one among us. We see a face, a person, an “ethnic Norwegian”, we read addresses in Oslo and Eastern Norway, a story about a 32-year-old with schooling, participation in associations and clubs, and with texts left on the web. We are reminded how important it is to be careful not to guess about perpetrators and motives. We would do well to let the police and judiciary do its job.”
The Oslo police are still investigating, though border restrictions have now been lifted in the Scandinavian country.