91 dead in Norway attacks
Oslo, Jul 23: Police today questioned a blond 32-year-old suspect over twin attacks on a youth camp and the government headquarters that killed at least 91 people in Norway's deadliest tragedy since World War II.
As harrowing testimony emerged from the holiday island where scores of youngsters were mown down by a gunman dressed as a policeman, Norway's premier said the country would emerge stronger from the "cruel act of violence".
"Never since the Second World War has our country been hit by a crime on this scale," Jens Stoltenberg told journalists in an early morning press conference as police searched for more bodies on the idyllic Utoeya island.
While there was no official confirmation of the suspect's identity, he was widely named by the local media as Anders Behring Breivik.
Police commissioner Sveinung Sponheim confirmed that the suspect was a 32-year-old Norwegian who had posted anti-Muslim rhetoric online.
According to the TV2 channel, the arrested suspect has links to right-wing extremists and possessed two weapons registered in his name.
Other Norwegian media reported that he described himself on his Facebook page as "conservative", "Christian", and interested in hunting and computer games like World of Warcraft and Modern Warfare 2.
The attacks on Friday afternoon were western Europe's deadliest carnage since the 2004 Madrid bombings.
While there had been initial fears they might have been an act of revenge over Norway's participation in the campaigns in Afghanistan and Libya, the focus shifted when it emerged the suspect was a native Norwegian.
Speaking alongside the prime minister, Justice Minister Knut Storberget said there was no reason to raise the threat level.
Security was tightened across potential target sites in the capital, but police lifted an advisory that had urged residents to stay home.
Seven of the victims were killed in a massive explosion which ripped through government buildings, including Stoltenberg's office and the finance ministry, in downtown Oslo.
But it is thought that the bomber then caught a ferry to nearby Utoeya wearing a police uniform.
According to witness testimony, he claimed to be investigating the bomb attack and began opening fire with an automatic weapon after beckoning youngsters towards him.
Witnesses described scenes of panic and horror among the 560 people attending the youth camp. Some who tried to swim to safety were even shot in the water, according to witnesses.
Among the wounded was Adrian Pracon, who was shot in the left shoulder as the gunman opened fire.
Speaking to Australia's ABC network from hospital, he said the scene on the island was like a "Nazi movie".
"He was shooting people at close range and starting to shoot at us. He stood first 10 metres from me and shooting at people in the water," he said.
"He had an M16, it did look like a machine gun. When I saw him from the side yelling that he was about to kill us, he looked like he was taken from a Nazi movie or something.
"He started shooting at these people, so I laid down and acted as if I was dead. He stood maybe two metres away from me. I could hear him breathing. I could feel the heat of the machine gun.
"He tried everyone, he kicked them to see if they were alive, or he just shot them.
Another young survivor, Jorgen Benone, said: "People were hiding behind stones. I saw people being shot... I felt it was best to stay quiet, not to run into the open.
"I saw (the gunman) once just 20 to 30 metres away from me," Benone said. (AFP)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 23 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 23 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 24 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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