2011 Norway attacks

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2011 Norway attacks
2011 Norway attacks
View immediately after the explosion occurred
Location Oslo, Norway
Utøya, Norway
Coordinates 59°54′54″N 10°44′48″E / 59.9149776°N 10.746544°E / 59.9149776; 10.746544 (2011 Oslo explosion)Coordinates: 59°54′54″N 10°44′48″E / 59.9149776°N 10.746544°E / 59.9149776; 10.746544 (2011 Oslo explosion)
Date 22 July 2011 (2011-07-22)
15:26[1] (CEST)
Attack type Bomb and shooting
Deaths 8 (Oslo)
69 (Utøya)

Total: 77

Injured 30 (Oslo)
66 (Utøya)

Total: 96

Suspected perpetrator(s) Anders Behring Breivik

The 2011 Norway attacks were two attacks in Norway on 22 July 2011. The first attack was a car bombing near government buildings in Oslo. The second attack was a mass shooting at a summer youth camp on an island northwest of Oslo. Of the total 77 deaths, 55 were teenagers, and another 96 people were injured.[2] The car bomb also shattered many windows of buildings in the government quarter of downtown Oslo.

The bomb explosion was near the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at 15:26.[3] It killed eight people and injured several others. The second attack was about 90 minutes later, at a youth camp organized by the youth group (AUF) of the Norwegian Labour Party (AP) at the island of Utøya in Tyrifjorden, Buskerud. A gunman disguised as a policeman opened fire at the campers, and killed 69 people.[2]

The police arrested several suspects, but many were released. Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian Protestant man, committed both attacks.[4] He was later charged with both attacks.[5] Records show he had planned the attacks for years, as an act of anti-immigration ideology and against multi-culturalism.

The European Union, NATO and countries around the world have expressed their support for Norway and condemned the attacks.

Oslo bombing[change | change source]

Map of the area of the explosion. Red building: Government building. Orange area: Position of a destroyed car. Blue building: Oil Ministry building.

On 22 July 2011 at 15:26 (CEST) a powerful explosion went off near the offices of the Prime Minister of Norway (H-blokka) and several other governmental buildings, such as the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy (R4) and Ministry of Finance.[1][6] (See map)

The nearby street was filled with glass and debris following the explosion. The wreckage of a car was sighted near one of the affected buildings. A giant cloud of white smoke was seen as a fire burned at the Ministry of Petroleum. The blast was heard at least seven kilometres away.[6]

Following the explosion, police cleared the area and searched for more explosive devices.[7] The police asked people to leave central Oslo.[8]

Casualties[change | change source]

Office of the Norwegian Prime Minister with blown-out windows shortly after the explosion.

Eight people are known to have been killed in the explosion,[9] with fifteen injured,[10][11] eleven seriously.[12] A doctor at the Oslo University Hospital said the hospital staff were treating head, chest and abdominal injuries.[13]

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was not hurt in the blast.[9] Norway’s finance minister, Sigbjørn Johnsen, was on holiday in Denmark at the time.[14]

Because July is the main holiday time in Norway, there were not as many people in the area as usual,[15] which may saved many lives.

Impact on transportation[change | change source]

The Norwegian Ministry of Petroleum and Energy shortly after the expolsion

All roads into Oslo's downtown area were closed as police moved people from the area and warned Oslo residents to stay away from the city center. They were also told to limit their usage of mobile phones due to concerns of another possible terrorist attack.[16] Public transport into and out of the city was stopped.[17] The police checked cars on the road to Oslo airport,[18] which remained open as the police conducted searches in cars at the site.[19][20]

The Gardermoen railway line between Lillestrøm and Oslo airport was shut down after a suspicious package was found close to the tracks.[21] The same happened at the offices of TV 2, which were evacuated after a suspicious package was found outside the building.[22]

Utøya shooting[change | change source]

About 90 minutes after the Oslo explosion,[9] a gunman in police uniform, believed to be Anders Behring Breivik,[23] got on a ferry about 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of Oslo. The ferry went to the island of Utøya in lake Tyrifjorden.[24] The island was the site of[9] the Labour Party's annual Workers' Youth League (AUF) youth summer camp. Once on the island, the gunman began to shoot the mainly adolescent campers, before finally being captured.[25]

The shooter was dressed as a police officer, and said he had come over for a routine check following the bombing event in Oslo. He signalled and asked people to gather around him[26] before firing his weapons,[27][28] killing and injuring many people. He first shot people on the island and later started shooting at people who were trying to escape by swimming across the lake.[29] The police reported that most of the casualties were youths of about 15 and 16 years old.[30] People on the island were reported to have hidden in lavatories or undergrowth, communicating by text message to avoid giving their positions away to the gunman.[31]

The shooting supposedly lasted for 90 minutes.[32] The police were informed about the shooting at 17:27, and at 18:27 the gunman had been arrested.[33] When the police arrived at the scene, they were confronted with a scene of survivors begging the officers to throw away their weapons. They were afraid that the men in uniforms would again open fire on them.[34]

At about 03:50 (CEST) on 23 July 2011, Norway's National Police Commissioner Øystein Mæland thought the number of deaths at Utøya was "at least 80" with the count expected to increase.[35] The number of dead is now known to be 69.[2]

Perpetrator[change | change source]

The attacker is Anders Behring Breivik. He was arrested on Utøya for the shootings and also linked to the Oslo bombings.[36] He has been charged[5] and convicted of carrying out both attacks. He is in prison.

Attorney[change | change source]

The attorney Geir Lippestad elected to act on behalf of Breivik's defence, telling the Dagbladet newspaper on Saturday that Breivik had requested him personally.[37] Lippestad said, "I thought carefully about it. Everyone is entitled to a lawyer, even in a case like this, and I decided to accept." Breivik has said that he is responsible for both the bomb and the shooting during police questioning but said he was not guilty.[38] Lippestad also was the attorney for the convicted neo-Nazi murderer Ole Nicolai Kvisler. Kvisler was sentenced in 2002 for the racially motivated murder of Benjamin Hermansen.[38][39]

Political views[change | change source]

Acting national police chief Sveinung Sponheim said that the suspected gunman's Internet postings "suggest that he has some political traits directed toward the right, and anti-Muslim views, but whether that was a motivation for the actual act remains to be seen".[40][41] Police have described Breivik as being a right-wing extremist.[42] Breivik described himself as a conservative nationalist. He has been described as a Christian fundamentalist by news sources.[5][43] He is reported to have written many posts on the website "document.no",[41] described by Aftenposten as "Islam-critical and Israel-friendly".[44] He went to meetings of "Documents venner" (Friends of Document), linked with the website.[45] He is was also once a member of the right-wing Progress Party (FrP) and its youth wing FpU. FpU leader Ove Vanebo said Breivik was active early in the 2000s, but he left the party as his viewpoints became more extreme.[46]

Media reports say that Breivik posted comments on the internet saying he is an admirer of Winston Churchill and Max Manus,[47][48] and also of Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Breivik said Wilders' Party for Freedom, is "the only true party for conservatives".[49] Breivik has said he is "pro-gay and pro-Israel".[50] On Twitter he paraphrased utilitarian philosopher John Stuart Mill: "One person with a belief is equal to the force of 100,000 who have only interests."[51] The Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK) said that Breivik published a 1516-page manifesto, on his anti-multiculturalist and right-wing militant ideologies, on the day of the attacks.[52]

Possible other perpetrator(s)[change | change source]

Several witnesses at the youth camp do not believe there was only one shooter. The police have received descriptions of a second gunman, and are currently checking this information. Due to the uncertainty surrounding these witness descriptions and the chaotic nature of the events the police have, as a matter of precaution, yet to make an official comment on the matter.[53][54] Acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim has said that "It's very difficult at this point to say whether he was acting alone or whether he was acting as part of a larger network". [55]

Reactions[change | change source]

Flowers laid in front of Oslo Cathedral the day after the attacks

Domestic[change | change source]

At a press conference on the morning after the attacks, prime minister Jens Stoltenberg called the attack a "national tragedy" and the worst atrocity since World War II.[56] Stoltenberg said that the attack would not hurt the Norwegian democracy, and said the proper answer to the violence was "more democracy, more openness, but not naivety".[57]

Eskil Pedersen of the Workers' Youth League vowed to "return to Utøya" and urged Norway to continue its tradition of openness and tolerance.[58]

King Harald sent his condolences to the victims and their families, and urged unity.[59]

International[change | change source]

The European Union, NATO, the United Nations Security Council, governments and leaders from around the world expressed their condemnation of the attack, condolences, and solidarity with Norway.[60]

References[change | change source]

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