Christian, Right wing fundamentalist: At least 85 dead in Norway youth camp attack

At least 85 dead in Norway youth camp attack

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 1 hour 11 minutes ago

OSLO, Norway — Norwegian police searched for more victims and a possible second gunman on Saturday after a suspected right-wing zealot killed at least 92 people in a shooting spree and bomb attack that have traumatized a once-placid country.

The 32-year-old Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik was arrested after Friday's massacre of teens on a tiny forested holiday island that was hosting the annual summer camp for the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labor party.

Breivik was also charged for the bombing of Oslo's government district that killed seven people hours earlier.

If convicted on the terrorism charges, he would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police said.

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National police Chief Oystein Maeland said the attacks had reached "catastrophic dimensions."

Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.

Witnesses said the gunman, wearing a police uniform, went on a prolonged shooting orgy on Utoya island northwest of Oslo, picking off his prey unchallenged as youngsters scattered in panic or jumped in the lake to swim for the mainland.

A police SWAT team eventually arrived from Oslo to seize Breivik after nearly 90 minutes of firing, acting police chief Sveinung Sponheim said at a news conference.

"We don't know yet" if he acted alone, Sponheim said, adding that Breivik had surrendered immediately and had confessed.

Death toll
Sponheim said 85 people were known to have died in the shooting and seven in the Oslo bomb blast. The overall death toll could reach 98 if some missing people proved to have died, he said.

Police gave no figure for the number wounded in Norway's worst violence since World War II.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, sharing the shocked mood in this normally safe, quiet country of 4.8 million, said: "A paradise island has been transformed into a hell."
Image: Utoya Island, Norway
An aerial view of Utoya Island, Norway, taken Thursday.

On Saturday night, the prime minister toured damaged buildings in central Oslo and said that he could not rule out that more bodies might be inside.

"There are still people missing ... one cannot rule out anything. This is evil. This is pure evil," he said. A chunk of debris fell off a building as he stood in the street.

Norwegian NRK television showed blurred pictures taken from a helicopter of a man, apparently in police uniform, standing with his arm outstretched amid numerous victims, some prone on the rocky shore, others floating in the water.

"This lasted for hours," Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference, describing the killings on the island northwest of Oslo where about 600 young people had gathered.

At the time of the massacre, hundreds of children were on the island, aged from 11 or 12 to 18 or 19.

The bloodbath was believed to be the deadliest attack by a lone gunman anywhere in modern times.

Police combed the island and the lake, even using a mini-submarine to search the water, police inspector Bjoerne Erik Sem-Jacobsen told Reuters. "We don't know how many people were on the island, therefore we have to search further."

U.S. President Barack Obama called Stoltenberg on Saturday to offer U.S. condolences over the killings and pledged assistance if needed.

The suspect, tall and blond, owned an organic farming company called Breivik Geofarm, which a supply firm said he had used to buy fertilizer — possibly to make the Oslo bomb.

It was not clear if Breivik, a gun club member according to local media, had more than one weapon or whether he had stocked ammunition on Utoya, where police found explosives.

Initial speculation after the Oslo blast had focused on Islamist militant groups, but it appears that only Breivik — and perhaps unidentified associates — was involved.

Home-grown
Home-grown anti-government militants have struck elsewhere in the past, notably in the United States, where Timothy McVeigh killed 168 people with a truck bomb in Oklahoma City in 1995.