At least eighty people were killed on a Norwegian island Friday by a lone gunman dressed in police uniform who attacked a summer camp of the ruling Labour party’s youth wing, shortly after a bomb ripped through the political district of the capital, Oslo.
Hundreds of youth, mainly teenagers, were attending the summer camp on Utoeya island, a few kilometres from Oslo.
The gunman, described as a tall, blond ethnic Norwegian, and later named as Anders Behring Breivik, entered the camp and opened fire indiscriminately, reports said. An initial death toll of 10 soared to at least 80 early Saturday.
The bomb blast in Oslo 90 minutes before the gun attack had killed seven people and wounded many more, the toll perhaps limited by fewer people being in the area on a public holiday.
The gunman was wounded by police responding to the attack and is in custody.
Speaking anonymously, police officials said the man appears to have acted alone in both attacks, described by Norwegian media as the worst episode of violence in the country since World War II.
According to the TV2 channel, which did not reveal its sources, the gunman has links to right-wing extremists.
AP quoted police officials as saying the attacks don’t appear linked to Islamist terrorism, and that while Breivik had right-wing and anti-Muslim views, his motive is unclear.
The man, now described as a 'homegrown terrorist', had been allowed access to the island after presenting his ID to security guards, reports said.
As he opened fire terrified teenagers and other people attempted to flee or hide. Some threw themselves into the cold, deep water to escape, and attempted to swim to the mainland.
Amongst them was a Diaspora Tamil, 23 year old Khamshajiny Gunaratnam, a youth politician of the Labour party elected to the civic council of Oslo in 2007.
She and another politician were picked up by a boat. See TamilNet’s report here.