Oslo has been rocked by twin terrorist attacks.
An explosion – confirmed to be a bomb – rocked the nation’s capital city shortly after three o’clock. Hours later, a man opened fire with an automatic weapon on an island situated in a lake north of Oslo, Utøya, where the Labour Party was holding a young members camp.
At least seventeen people have been killed in total, with the death toll expected to rise as the situation on Utøya becomes clearer. Many more have been seriously injured.
The earlier explosion left huge amounts of damage in the city centre, with streets full of debris and many buildings severely affected. Police confirmed seven people died in Oslo as a result of the bombing and several people were still trapped for a short time after the bomb detonated.
The explosion happened outside the offices of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, and other Government buildings including the Ministry of Defense. Neither Mr. Stolenberg nor any other Norwegian ministers were harmed.
An official police statement said that “There has been one or several powerful explosions in the government district in Oslo. So far, police cannot say anything about the scope of the damage, aside from that there’s been one or several explosions.”
But it has been the shootings on Utøya that have become the most shocking . A man – said to be a Norwegian national – disguised himself as a police officer before opening fire on over 500 young Labour members, aged between fifteen and twenty-five. Ten deaths have been confirmed but eyewitness reports say the final toll could be two or three time larger.
Harrowing images from the scene show bodies sprawled along the coast, as the victims attempted to swim across the lake to safety.
The shooter has been arrested and is now in police custody.
It is a dark day for a country thought to be one of the safest and most stable in Europe. However, earlier this month, the BBC reported that three men had been arrested in connection with a plot to bomb targets in Norway.
No-one has yet come forward to claim responsibility for todays attacks, which could either be a terrorist group or just the actions of a disgruntled individual.
Any Southampton students worried about family or friends who were in the city can call the police information line on +47 23 01 5144 +47 22 11 8080. Norwegian police say that if you know someone on the island of Utøya to not phone them as the situation may still be unresolved.