Blasts and Gun Attack in Norway; 7 Dead — Powerful explosions shook central Oslo on Friday afternoon, blowing out the windows of several government buildings, including one housing the office of the Norwegian prime minister. The state television broadcaster, citing the police, said seven people were killed and at least 15 injured; a spokeswoman for the prime minister, Jens Stoltenberg, said he was “safe and not hurt.” (NYT)
The Associated Press (hat tip CJ)
"Jubel über den Angriff in islamistischen Internetforen" Spiegel
In islamistischen Internetforen wurden die Nachrichten über eine Explosion im norwegischen Regierungsviertel von Anhängern al-Qaidas als "frohe Nachricht" bejubelt. "Euch bleibt nicht mehr viel Zeit, eure Soldaten aus Afghanistan abzuziehen, oder ihr werdet Blut in den Straßen sehen", schrieb ein User.
"Cheers about the attack on Islamic internet forums"
The news of an explosion in the Norwegian government quarter was cheered as "good news" by Al-Qaida followers on Islamic internet forums. "You don't have much more time to pull your soldiers out of Afghanistan or you'll see blood in the streets", wrote one user.
OSLO, Norway — A powerful bomb tore into the heart of Norway on Friday, killing at least two people and injuring 15 as it ripped open buildings including the prime minister's office. Is was the deadliest bombing ever in Oslo, normally associated with the Nobel Peace Prize that is awarded there. No one has yet claimed responsibility but early indications point to the Islamic terror charges against Mullah Krekar and other jihadist activity. The BBC's diplomatic correspondent says the fact a government building was targeted makes one think this could be connected with government decisions on Afghanistan or Libya.
But remember, jihad is not the problem. New York's 911, London's 7/7, Madrid's 3/11, Bali, Mumbai, Beslan, Moscow ......... is not the problem. "Islamophobia" is the problem. Repeat after me as you bury the dead, "Islamophobia is the problem, Islamophobia is the problem."
A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami, or the Helpers of the Global Jihad, issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at C.N.A., a research institute that studies terrorism. The message said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad. “We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,” the group said, according to Mr. McCants’ translation, apparently referring to a bombing in Sweden in December 2010. “What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.” The claim could not be confirmed. (NY TImes)
UPDATE 1:26 pm: Reuters reports several people have been killed in the shooting at a Labour Party youth camp on the island of Utoya. 16 people dead
UPDATE 1:43 pm: Police are saying they believe the person(s) responsible for the bomb to be foreign, according to the BBC (hat tip David)
UPDATE: 1:52 pm: At least seven people were killed in a pair of explosions apparently targeting Norway's government buildings in Oslo, police said today.
NORWAY police urged residents of Oslo today to avoid big gatherings and stay home after a powerful bomb rocked government and media buildings in the capital, causing deaths and injuries.
Police said a bomb caused the explosion, and Norwegian media reported that at least two people had died and several were injured.
In a separate incident, a man disguised as a police officer opened fire at a youth meeting of the ruling Labour Party in Utoeya, an island on the outskirts of the capital Oslo, state television NRK reported.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg had at one point been scheduled to attend the event, police said.
The crisis in Oslo may not be over.
With Oslo police confirming that "one or more" bombs caused an explosion at the government headquarters Friday afternoon, there are reports that the offices of the broadcaster TV2 have been sealed off because of a suspicious package.
Norwegian State Secretary Kristian Amundsen told BBC that there are people trapped in the buildings hit by the blast. He declined to elaborate, saying: "I can't go into details."
The Friday afternoon blast killed at least two people, while shattering windows and covering the streets in paper and debris. Police say at least 15 others were injured.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg was not among the injured. A senior adviser said Stoltenberg was not in the building but was instead working at home.
Most of the windows in the 20-floor high-rise building were blown out. The bottom floor appeared to be gutted.
Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported from the Scandinavian country. The indictment centered on statements that Mullah Krekar — the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam — made to various news media, including American network NBC.
Terrorism has also been a concern in neighboring Denmark since an uproar over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad six years ago. Danish authorities say they have foiled several terror plots linked to the 2005 newspaper cartoons that triggered protests in Muslim countries. Last month, a Danish appeals court on Wednesday sentenced a Somali man to 10 years in prison for breaking into the home of the cartoonist.
Nearby buildings were also damaged and evacuated. Some of the buildings housed Norway's leading newspapers and NTB. The website of the NRK network showed images of a blackened car lying on its side amid the debris.
The bombing was unusual for Norway, which has rarely been a target for terror groups. That said, last week, terror charges were filed against an Iraqi-born cleric who allegedly threatened Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported.
The indictment alleged that Mullah Krekar -- the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam -- made various threats in interviews with news media, including the U.S. network NBC.
Norway ordered Krekar deported in 2005 after declaring him a national security threat. The decision was suspended amid worries he would face execution or torture in Iraq.
At a news conference in June 2010, Krekar said that if he were deported to Iraq and killed, Norwegian officials would meet the same fate. He singled out former asylum policy minister Erna Solberg.
The shattered windows of a government building