Several People (Possibly Many More) Reportedly Dead After Explosion in Downtown Oslo, Attack on Children's Summer Camp

Reuters is reporting that there's been a "huge" explosion in downtown Oslo, Norway. The blast apparently hit PM Jens Stoltenberg's office, which lost most its windows.

Reuters correspondent Walter Gibbs said he counted at least eight injured people. The cause of the blast was unknown but the tangled wreckage of a car was outside one building. Police and fire officials declined comment on the cause.

Initial reports online say The PM was not hurt (update: nor were any members of the cabinet). We'll update with details as they come in.

Update, 10:20am Eastern: Norwegian Twitterer @finansakrobat is live-tweeting and blogging what he sees from downtown. Some of his updates:

This is the worst disaster in Norwegian history. This is our 9/11.

The Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg is NOT HURT! ... This is just confirmed.

I fear that many 100s could be dead. Poor poor poor guard that worked in the first floor. :(:( (Update on this: I want to revise my previous statement. There is probably less injured/dead than assumed; there is a national holiday now)

Update, 10:27: A sobering image of the damage.

Update, 10:31: Video of the scene, plus more images (h/t @MaddowBlog). (Note: images loading slowly at the moment.)

Update, 10:38: An update from Reuters:

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.

Update, 11:02: Reuters reports that at least one person has died as a result of the blast. Hm, Reuters has changed its headline, and now mentions nothing of a fatality.

Update, 11:07: According to CNN, a second blast mayhave occurred, soon after the initial explosion. Reportedly, several buildings, including the Oil Ministry, are or were on fire.

Update, 11:32: Per @BreakingNews: "Several Norwegian news outlets reporting there may be 2 other bombs around Oslo that did not explode, according to police." Also: "At least two fatalities confirmed in Oslo blast, Norway's Aftenposten newspaper reports."

Update, 12:07: The Guardianspeculates about who was behind the bombing: "suspicion falls on Islamic militants." ("Suspicion" is the operative word at this point.)

Update, 12:16: ABC: the explosion was caused by a "massive vehicle bomb." AP: 15 people injured, death toll still stands at 2. Also, a suspicious package reportedly found at the Oslo TV2 office, which has been "sealed off."

Update, 12:18: Starting to see this seemingly related story pop up around the web: "Unconfirmed reports: Norwegian Labour's youth camp under attack at Utøya. Reports of shots fired and people 'swimming' away in despair." Awful.

More on that story from the BBC: "Oslo journalist Hans Torgersen tells the BBC there have been reports that a gunman dressed as a policeman has attacked a Labour Party youth camp at an island just outside of Oslo."

Update, 12:36: The Guardianreports that the PM was due to be at a conference on the island of Utøya when the shooting shooting, but he didn't attend.

Update, 12:48: Reuters: 5 people injured in the youth camp attack.

Update, 12:53: Cell phone video of what is said to have been the second bombing in Oslo.

Update, 1:08: The Telegraphreports that Oslo police say "several" people died as a result of the bombing.

Update, 1:14:Reuters: One person arrested at the youth camp. @finansakrobat has these updates:

Latest report from Utøya: the shooting has stopped. Been quit for a while. Abt 700 kids hiding in bushes. High level of uncertainty.

Also on another note:there has almost never been a shooting like this in Norway and absolutely never a bomb.Both within hours today.Unreal.

Update, 1:30: Several people reportedly died in the shooting at the youth camp. Also, the man arrested at the camp was said to be "blonde and Norwegian-looking." Unconfirmed reports.

Seven people are said to have died in downtown Oslo, with two people gravely injured.

Update, 2:21: A witness to the youth camp shooting tells Norwegian media that there could be 20-30 people dead.

AlterNet Staff / By

Posted at July 22, 2011, 4:14am

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