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Scores feared dead in twin terror attacks in Norway – car bombs and crazed gunman wreak havoc

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oslo-bombTEENAGERS on the Norwegian holiday island of Utoya had to 'swim for their lives' and hide in trees when a gunman fired indiscriminately at them.
Around 700 had gathered on the island for a meeting of the youth wing of the ruling Labour party.

 

Witnesses said the man in police uniform who opened fire beckoned several young people over before shooting at them. He told them to 'come here'.

Other witnesses said they heard him saying: 'This is just the beginning.'
It came as Norway succumbed to a double attack in what is being described as the worst atrocity it has faced since the Second World War.
Terrorists are believed to be responsible for a massive car blast at a government office block in the capital Oslo which took place earlier on in the day.

One teenager who was caught up in the island attack said: 'Suddenly, we heard lots of shooting. People had to run and hide. We have been told to get off the island.'

A party official said: 'There has been a shootout. Many people are shot. Based on what I have seen, at least four people are shot and killed. Now it’s complete panic and we swim off to get to safety.'

Bjorn Jarle Røberg-Larsen, of the Labour party, spoke to young people on Utoya by phone.

'They say that at least one person wearing a police-like uniform was firing shots with a handgun,' he said.

He said the people he spoke to were hiding and dared not speak on the phone any more for fear of being discovered.

'Young people have to swim in panic, and it is far to the mainland from Utoya,' he said. 'Others are hiding. Those I spoke with were terrified.'

A Twitter user going by the name  zhalli1 posted a message on the website saying: 'I'm safe. We've hidden in a tree. One of us is shot twice in the foot.'

Police stormtroopers landed on the island by helicopter as the shooting  continued and sealed off the area but ambulances were unable to reach the scene immediately.

Fredrik Walløe, a London-based Norwegian journalist, tweeted: 'A Sea King helicopter carrying medics has reached the island, but can't land because of continued gunfire.'

Locals were urged to help those fleeing the island.

 Victim: Woman covered in blood is led away from the scene following the explosion this afternoon
Alyssa Nilsen, a music journalist and photographer in Oslo, wrote on Twitter: 'People are escaping the island by jumping in the water and swimming away. Anyone near Utoya with a boat, please help!'

One witness described the scene  from the mainland. He wrote on Twitter: 'There is a little war going on out there.'

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who had been due to visit the island, told a Norwegian TV channel that the situation was critical.

He said: 'We now have reports of a serious situation there – a critical situation on Utoya.'

Emilie Bersaas, 19, spoke from Utoya last night, from where she could still hear police and helicopters overheard.

She said: 'I'm at a building with the army. I ran here when I heard the shooting. I heard a lot of people running and screaming. I ran to the nearest building and hid under the desk.'

She said there was 'a lot of shooting' and she heard 'screaming from the next room'.

'The shooting came from all different directions,' she added. 'Somebody told me to go under the desk. And put mattresses and pillows on top so I felt kind of safe. It was terrifying.'

She said the shooting was very close to the building and hit it at one point.

'I stayed under the bed for two hours. Then the police smashed the window and came in.'

'It seems so unreal, in Norway this doesn't happen here.  It's something that we hear about happening in the U.S.

'It's weird and it's tough and it reminds us of problems that we should have taken more seriously than we have.'


They said they were still trying to get an overview of the Utoya massacre and could not say whether there was more than one shooter.

More than 30 are believed to have been killed - seven in Oslo and between 25 to 30 on Utoya Island, 50 miles north of the capital - where the prime minister Jens Stoltenberg had been due to attend the youth Labour Party event.

The man arrested is reported to be 6ft tall, blonde and spoke Norwegian.
Simen Braende Mortensen, a guard on the boat to Utoya Island, told VG newspaper he saw a man, aged between 30 to 40-years-old, in a police uniform and bulletproof vest drive on to the boat in a silver van.

He apparently had a pistol and a rifle with telescopic sight, had a Norwegian look and spoke in a common eastern dialect.
It is reported he said he had been sent to beef up security following the Oslo bombing, and was shot and wounded before being arrested.

Some people fled the attack by swimming away from the island and others locked themselves in buildings but reports emerged that explosives may have been set around the area.

They were warned not to reveal their location on social media networks, such as Twitter and Facebook, for fear they could be the victims of future attempts.
Victims of the first blast in Oslo were still being treated as news of the second incident filtered through.
Mr Stoltenberg, who was advised by security officials not to reveal his location, told journalists: 'There is a critical situation at Utoya and several ongoing ops as we speak.
'Co-workers have lost their lives today... it's frightening. That's not how we want things in our country.

'But it's important that we don't let ourselves be scared. Because the purpose of that kind of violence is to create fear.'

Also police were this afternoon were investigating reports of a suspicious package at broadcaster TV2 in the capital.
At least 15 people were injured in the initial attack in Oslo. It is known that seven were being treated at Oslo University Hospital.
The tangled wreckage of a car was seen outside one Government building with officers investigating whether it was responsible for the blast and carrying a fertiliser nitrate device.
The attack occurred opposite the offices of the Norwegian prime minister whose windows were blown out by the force of the explosion.

Dozens of victims lay injured amid the wreckage and many were carried away from the scene bleeding. 
All roads into the city centre have been closed, and security officials evacuated people from the area, fearing another blast.
Fortunately, it was a public holiday and the offices were less busy than during a normal weekday.     

'It exploded - it must have been a bomb. People ran in panic and ran. I counted at least 10 injured people,' said Kjersti Vedun, who was leaving the area. 

An NRK journalist, Ingunn Andersen, said the headquarters of tabloid newspaper VG had also been damaged.


 


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