Norway Police Evacuate Downtown Oslo, Utoya Island after Blast, Shootout Incidents

World | July 22, 2011, Friday // 20:03|  views

Norwegian Military Police carry a young woman covered in blood to a waiting ambulance after a powerful explosion rocked central Oslo, Norway on 22 July 2011. A huge explosion damaged government buildings in central Oslo on 2 July 2011. EPA/BGNES

The Norwegian police authorities have staged an evacuation of central Oslo after Friday afternoon's explosions that shocked Norway's capital, and are potentially related to a shootout on the nearby island of Utoya located 50 km away.

Latest information indicates that 2 people have been killed in the blasts that targeted Norway's government headquarters in Oslo, and 15 others have been injured. A total of 10 people are known to have been admitted to the Oslo University Hospital.

The explosions in the downtown might be related to another incident – as a gunman dressed as a policeman has opened fire at a Labor Party youth camp outside of Oslo shortly after the explosions in the downtown of the Norwegian capital.

Norwegian state broadcaster NRK says five people have been injured in the shooting at a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya.

According to the Norwegian paper VG, the gunman was dressed as a policeman. It is unclear if the shooting incident is related to the blasts in the downtown government complex.

The Norwegian government has sent an anti-terrorism unit to the island to evacuate it. Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was supposed to attend the youth Labor Party camp on Saturday.

The Norwegian police have been unable to confirm how many explosions hit Oslo Friday afternoon in a bomb attack on Norway's government complex that caused widespread chaos.

"We cannot confirm that the bomb was planted in a vehicle," Egil Vrekke, an assistant chief constable of the Oslo police, told the BBC in a blitz interview.

He confirmed that 2 persons have been killed, and 15 others have been wounded, and said that the Oslo police is focusing on the ongoing rescue operation.

The police have cordoned off large areas, searching for trapped persons, even though Vrekke did not confirm earlier reports that a number of people might be trapped inside the damaged buildings.

He further refused to comment on whether the police had a warning of any organization of a pending terrorist attack.

The blasts that rattled the Norwegian government complex in downtown Oslo have been caused by a bomb, according to Norway's police.

It is still unclear who is behind the attack in also, and if it is the case of terrorism with local or international grievances. Guesses range from local causes to Norway's participation in the NATO-led ISAF mission in Afghanistan and in the NATO-led air strikes against the regime of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

Norwegian news agency NTB has announced that Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg is safe. According to local media reports, the blasts were directed against the VG, whose office is in the same building.

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Tags: Norway Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg, youth camp, Gunman, Norwegian Labor Party, terrorism, terrorist attack, bomb attack, Muammar Gaddafi, Libya, Afghanistan, VG, tabloid, Norway Prime Minister, blast, Jens Stoltenberg, explosition, Oslo, Norway, Utoya


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