Norway horror: 86 die in camp shooting, 7 in blast

0
1505

Oslo, Norway (AP) – A Norwegian who dressed as a police officer to gun down summer campers killed at least 86 people at an island retreat, horrified police said last weekend. It took investigators several hours to begin to realize the full scope of Friday’s massacre, which followed an explosion in nearby Oslo that killed seven and that police say was set off by the same suspect.

Anders Behring Breivik, 32, has confessed he was behind the bombing in downtown Oslo and shooting massacre at a youth camp outside the capital, but denies criminal responsibility.

This photo, digitally altered to protect the identities of the victims, was taken from a helicopter above Utoya Island near Oslo, Norway.  It shows what police believe is the alleged gunman walking among victims after opening fire on a youth retreat, killing at least 86, Friday, July 22, 2011. The mass shootings are among the worst in history. With the blast outside the prime minister’s office, they formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings killed 191. (AP Photo/NRK, Marius Arnesen via Scanpix) This photo, digitally altered to protect the identities of the victims, was taken from a helicopter above Utoya Island near Oslo, Norway.  It shows what police believe is the alleged gunman walking among victims after opening fire on a youth retreat, killing at least 86, Friday, July 22, 2011. The mass shootings are among the worst in history. With the blast outside the prime minister’s office, they formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings killed 191. (AP Photo/NRK, Marius Arnesen via Scanpix)

The mass shootings are among the worst in history. With the blast outside the prime minister’s office, they formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings killed 191.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg told reporters Saturday that he had spent many summers on the island of Utoya, which was hosting a youth retreat for his party.

An official attempts to clear away spectators from buildings in the center of Oslo following an explosion that tore open several buildings including the prime minister’s office, shattering windows and covering the street with documents. (AP Photo/Fartein Rudjord)An official attempts to clear away spectators from buildings in the center of Oslo following an explosion that tore open several buildings including the prime minister’s office, shattering windows and covering the street with documents. (AP Photo/Fartein Rudjord)

Utoya is “my childhood paradise that yesterday was transformed into Hell,” Stoltenberg said at a news conference in the capital.

Police initially said about 10 were killed at the forested camp on the island, but some survivors said they thought the toll was much higher. Police director Oystein Maeland told reporters early Saturday they had discovered many more victims.

This is an undated image obtained from the Twitter page of Anders Behring Breivik, 32, who was arrested in connection to the twin attacks on a youth camp and a government building in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo/Twitter, Anders Behring Breivik)This is an undated image obtained from the Twitter page of Anders Behring Breivik, 32, who was arrested in connection to the twin attacks on a youth camp and a government building in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo/Twitter, Anders Behring Breivik)

“It’s taken time to search the area. What we know now is that we can say that there are at least 86 killed at Utoya,” Maeland said. “It goes without saying that this gives dimensions to this incident that are exceptional.”

Maeland said the death toll could rise even more. He said others were severely wounded, but police didn’t know how many were hurt.

The island is about 500 meters from one shore of Tyrifjorden Lake, an oddly shaped body of water that is 25 kilometers at its longest and 12 kilometers at its widest.

The search for more victims continues and police have not released the names of the dead. But Norway’s royal court said Monday that those killed at the island retreat included Crown Princess Mette-Marit’s stepbrother, an off-duty police officer, who was working there as a security guard.

Court spokeswoman Marianne Hagen told The Associated Press that his name was Trond Berntsen, the son of Mette-Marit’s stepfather, who died in 2008.

Meanwhile, French police searched the suspect’s father’s home Monday. About a dozen officers surrounded the house in Couranel in southern France, entering and leaving at irregular intervals. The house is cordoned off, and reporters do not have access.

The regional gendarme service confirmed the house was that of Anders Behring Breivik’s father but would not comment on the search operation. News reports have said Breivik’s father, Jens Breivik, has not been in touch with his son in many years.

A woman places flowers amongst candles and other floral tributes in memory of the victims of Friday’s bomb blast and shooting massacre in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo/Scanpix Norway/Berit Roald/Scanpix Norway) A woman places flowers amongst candles and other floral tributes in memory of the victims of Friday’s bomb blast and shooting massacre in Oslo, Norway. (AP Photo/Scanpix Norway/Berit Roald/Scanpix Norway)

The attacks rattled Norway, a small and wealthy country unused to political violence, and known internationally as a peace mediator, prominent foreign aid donor and as home of the Nobel Peace Prize. Survivors of the camp shooting on Utoya Island described how a gunman dressed in a police uniform urged people to come closer and then opened fire, sending panicked youth fleeing into the water.

Police say 86 people were killed. About 90 minutes earlier, a car bomb exploded in the government district in central Oslo, killing seven.

More than 90 people were wounded, and others remain missing at both crime scenes.

Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten, without citing sources, reported that Breivik told investigators that he had hoped to reach the island while former Prime Minister Harlem Brundtland was visiting the youth camp of Norway’s left-leaning Labor Party, but got there after she had left. Oslo police spokesman Henning Holtaas declined to comment on the report.

Breivik laid out his extreme nationalist philosophy as well as his attack methods in a 1,500-page manifesto. It also describes how he bought armor, guns, tons of fertilizer and other bomb components, stashed caches of weapons and wiped his computer hard drive – all while evading police suspicion and being nice to his neighbors.

Dr. Colin Poole, head of surgery at Ringriket Hospital in Honefoss northwest of Oslo, told The Associated Press that the gunman used special bullets designed to disintegrate inside the body and cause maximum internal damage. Poole said surgeons treating 16 gunshot victims have recovered no full bullets.

“These bullets more or less exploded inside the body,” Poole said. “It’s caused us all kinds of extra problems in dealing with the wounds they cause, with very strange trajectories.”

Ballistics experts say “dum-dum”-style bullets also are lighter in weight and can be fired with greater accuracy over varying distances.