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Terror attacks in Oslo and Norwegian youth camp kill at least 27


Norway-Oslo-car-bombing.jpg

Aftermath of the car bombing in Oslo, Norway. Reuters photograph.

A large explosion in downtown Oslo today has killed at least seven people and injured scores more. The massive blast, which was caused by at least one bomb, blew out windows at several government buildings and triggered an evacuation of the area, according to The Associated Press. A "prominent jihadist" commented on today's attack at an al Qaeda-linked forum, and said it was carried out to punish Norway for deploying troops to Afghanistan.

In a related development, the Telegraph reports that on the island of Utoeya, northwest of Oslo, a gunman dressed as a policeman shot and killed at least 20 people attending the annual youth camp for the Labor party, the political party of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. One witness claimed 20 to 25 people may have been killed in the shooting. Police have arrested the shooter and claimed he was linked to the Oslo bombing, but have not released any details.

The explosion in Oslo, which occurred at about 3:30 in the afternoon, heavily damaged the offices of the prime minister as well as those of a nearby newspaper and a news agency. Across the street, the Norwegian oil ministry building caught fire. The prime minister, who was working at home that day, was apparently unhurt. He has described the situation as "very serious," according to the BBC, and asked that his location not be revealed.

The 17-story building housing the government offices as well as that of the Norwegian tabloid VG was on fire, and the ground floor is reported to be "completely gutted." The Norwegian police have issued a statement saying that a "powerful explosion has taken place in the government quarter," according to the Telegraph.

Norwegian police have confirmed that the explosion was caused by a bomb. The remains were visible of a car parked in front of one of the buildings. Speculation has arisen as to a delivery van that was parked nearby, reports The Foreigner. Some witnesses said there were multiple explosions, the Telegraph reported.

The attack may have involved more than one bomb. A spokesman for the National Police Directorate said that "[w]e think there was more than one blast," the New York Times reported.

A witness said that "it must have been a bomb. People ran in panic... I counted at least 10 injured people," Reuters reported.

Al Qaeda-linked terrorists quickly commented on today's attack. Abu Suleiman al Nasser, who is described by the SITE Intelligence Group as a "prominent jihadist," linked today's attack to Norway's deployment of forces in Afghanistan, and said the "mujahideen" were likely behind it. Nasser also said today's attack was related to the December 2010 suicide attack in Stockholm, Sweden, that killed one person.

"Norway was targeted today to be a lesson and an example to the other countries of Europe," Nasser said in a statement released on the al Qaeda-linked Shumukh al Islam forum, according to a translation provided by SITE. "Since the Stockholm invasion we had threatened more operations and we demanded that the countries of Europe withdraw their armies from the land of Afghanistan and stop their war on Islam and Muslims. We repeat our warning anew to the countries of Europe, and we say to them: carry out the demands of the mujahideen, because what you are seeing is merely the beginning, and what is coming is more."

Another jihadist, who is known as Amir Grozny, said today's attack was in retaliation for Norway's deployment of troops to Afghanistan.

"You have moments to get your soldiers out of the tomb of Khorasan, else you will see blood flow in the streets," Amir Grozny said in a post at the Shumukh al Islam forum, according to SITE.

Today's attack takes place just nine days after Norwegian prosecutors filed charges against Mullah Krekar, a radical Islamist cleric who founded the al Qaeda-linked, Iraq based Ansar al Islam. Krakar threatened to carry out attacks against government officials if he was deported from Norway.

Also, on July 8, prosecutors sought to charge three men linked to al Qaeda for plotting terror attacks in Scandinavia. Mikael Davud, a Uighur, and Shawan Sadek Saeed Bujak, an Iraqi Kurd, both confessed to plotting attacks; the third suspect, David Jakobsen, an Uzbek, was released last year.

Today's attack is the first on Norwegian soil since World War II. The country's terror level has been raised, and citizens are being warned to stay away from central Oslo in the immediate aftermath of the attack.

Update:

Police have since arrested Anders Behring Breivik, a Norwegian Christian extremist who has admitted to carrying out the attacks. Breivik does not have links to Islamist terror groups. For more information, see LWJ report, Norwegian police dismiss jihadist role in Oslo attacks.



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READER COMMENTS: "Terror attacks in Oslo and Norwegian youth camp kill at least 27"

Posted by Al at July 22, 2011 12:22 PM ET:

Europe, especially the leftists and liberals, had better wake up to the threat that Islam poses to Western civilization and the world.

Imagine if Turkey gets into the EU, what that could mean to Islamic migration into Europe. Along with Muslims comes a percentage of jihadis and Islamists. The larger the number gross number, the greater the threat, as well as producing enclaves which will develop even more terrorists or terrorist enablers.

We have our share in the US, already.

Posted by JH at July 22, 2011 1:20 PM ET:

According to the BBC, al-Nasser recieved blessed martyrdom a the hands of the Iraqi apostates back in February. He couldn't have put out the claim unless it was someone else.

I'm not up 100% on al-Nasser.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-12581313

Posted by DL at July 22, 2011 1:22 PM ET:

Maybe Europe could cut their Defense Budget a little more...I'm sure that'll fix it.

Posted by Bill Roggio at July 22, 2011 1:29 PM ET:

JH, different guy.

Posted by Jimmy at July 22, 2011 1:40 PM ET:

@DL

Sarcasm understood. In the same vein, I would add:

"Maybe Europe could give more military aid to Pakistan...I'm sure that'll fix it"!

Posted by blert at July 22, 2011 1:49 PM ET:

No European nation has been more liberal than Norway WRT muslim terrorists.

Oslo permits islamists to wander the streets not withstanding warrants from Britain, America, Iraq and Spain.

------

This outrage is an 'own-goal' for the islamists. Labor is going to have to reverse course -- immediately -- and start deporting unlawful combatants.

Soon, Norway will have to mimmic Denmark, and shut their borders to muslims.

As a major oil exporter Norway does not need to curry favor with islamists.

----

My money bet would be on the islamist heading to court. Should he be deported -- he'd end up being executed in Iraq.

He was a major car-bomber back home.

Posted by Tim at July 22, 2011 1:58 PM ET:

During WWII, the US was pitted against Germany. The US at that time had millions of citizens of German descent. But never did it face problems with these citizens taking up arms against their adopted country in support of their country of origin.

When the West fights wars with Islamic countries, it expects the same loyalty from its Islamic citizens. Majority are loyal. But what the West does not understand is that some extremists misuse or misunderstand or misinterpret one particular ideology of Islam - "Loyalty to Religion is supreme"!

Well, its kinda like the missionaries Christian Europe sent to the New World. They never believed in the local customs or shamanistic beliefs of the various American indigenous populations. They were never loyal to their 'adopted countries'. What they did was aided the complete takeover, religious conversion, plunder and colonization of the new territories.

Same way, Europe, America (North and South) and Australasia are allowing themselves to be re-colonized!

Posted by JRP at July 22, 2011 2:55 PM ET:

AQ's goal in this attack has nothing to do with Norway. AQ's goal is to isolate America from its allies. Norway's correct response to this atrocity would be to triple its presence in Afghanistan. But more than likely Norway will opt for the feckless response of pulling out ala Canada.

Since WWII the U.S. has always managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. It happened in Korea, in Vietnam, and at Tora Bora, and may be happening in AFPAK.

ISAF has got AFPAK on the run; up against the ropes. And we are drawing down. Amazing! Where's the killer instinct?

In a famous broadcast line from the 1st Jersey Joe Walcott v. Rocky Marciano fight, Jersey Joe had Rocky on the ropes and, for whatever reason, let up. The broadcaster said words to the effect of: "And he may have let him get away."
And, indeed, he had.

We don't know it, but we're on the cusp of victory against AQ/Taliban . . . And we're going to let them get away. Again, where the heck is the killer instinct?

Posted by Charu at July 22, 2011 3:44 PM ET:

This is terrible, but entirely predictable. The solution is to control immigration and to build a network of informers within the Muslim immigrant community and to judiciously use electronic eavesdropping to keep track on them. The recent indictment of Ghulam Nabi Fai is an excellent example of the painstaking work that is required to uncover the many tentacles of the ISI and their means to move funds around using the Pakistani diaspora. These were mainly Pakistani doctors who, like Rana, were willing pawns for the ISI.

Pakistanis, curiously, seem to be the most incensed by the Danish cartoons and (not surprisingly) the Afghan war; more than other Muslims. It came out during the Chicago trial of Tahawwur Rana that Ilyas Kashmiri had set his eyes on Denmark and had his operative David Headley scout locations.

Posted by Max at July 22, 2011 4:05 PM ET:

I was amazed to learn that the Founder of Ansar al-Islam, one of the most ferocious terrorist groups in Iraq, still fighting the Iraqi government the last I heard, was wandering the streets of Norway as a free man.

I hate to say it, but any country stupid enough to sleep with vicious dogs like that man shouldn't be surprised to get bitten. They asked for it, and they got it.

Posted by blert at July 22, 2011 4:55 PM ET:

It's not an AQ operation....

Mullah Krekar is the top man/ founder of Ansar al-Islam -- a Sunni Kurd terrorist faction propped up by Iran and aimed at the two leading Kurdish political factions.

In the beginning they also targeted Saddam.

This outfit has a history of VBIED attacks against politicians -- and very sophisticated/ complex attacks.

The entire op smacks of Ansar al-Islam -- clean through.

And, yes, this is international terrorism in its purest form.

IIRC, the IRGC trained his outfit in the construction of VBIEDs. The hope was that a pawn could drive close to Saddam and take him out regardless.

Bill has posted many times WRT Ansar al-Islam. Take a peak at them.

Posted by Jack at July 22, 2011 5:06 PM ET:

Aren't you all jumping the gun on AQ? Where is the evidence for AQ (or any other islamist group) involvement?

Posted by ElTig at July 22, 2011 5:53 PM ET:

Just out of curiosity, how reliable are the jihadist claims of responsibility on this incident? From what I understand, there are also right-wing extremists in Norway that may have had the motivation to execute such an attack.

Posted by Neo at July 22, 2011 6:08 PM ET:

Norway will eventually tighten their immigration policies, and won’t except extremists as just another point of view equal to all other points of view. If elements within the Muslim community continue to be hostile and violent to them, and the rest of the Muslim community refuses to do anything about it, they will increasingly discourage immigration.

Posted by Niels Brinch at July 22, 2011 6:25 PM ET:

I think that as the evening has passed it looks a less likely that is militant islamists.

It seems the attacker a 32 year old norwegian has an extreme hatred agains the norwegian workers party - attacking the government buildings AND a youthcamp with only youngsters - members of the party at a youth camp - lets hope the police can clairify this during saturday.

I think that AQ inspired attackers would not attack such a camp but rather a more representative target - to revenge the norwegian printing og the Muhammed cartoons.

Posted by ElTig at July 22, 2011 6:43 PM ET:

From Sky News "Norway's TV2 says man arrested has links to right-wing extremism."

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Norway-Live-Blog-Oslo-Bomb-Attack-And-Utoya-Shooting/Article/201107416035759?lpos=World_News_First_World_News_Feature_Teaser_Region_0&lid=ARTICLE_16035759_Norway_Live_Blog%3A_Oslo_Bomb_Attack_And_Utoya_Shooting

Posted by TEM at July 22, 2011 7:18 PM ET:

I think I just saw the Norwegian socialists waving the white flag of surrender!

Seriously, when will all the lefties from the west realize, these radiacal Islamists are unappeasable.

Norway is no worse than Britian,allowing the trash I have witnessed in E.London or the Germans being too intimadated by the radicals in the Hamburg mosque.
The US along with the CIA are complicite as well, they fired confidential informants in the 1990's who has infiltrated the Hamburg mosue. The informants were terminated for associating with known terrorists.
All makes sense to me!

Posted by andrew at July 22, 2011 7:37 PM ET:

i get this feeling sometimes that folks here actually 'want' terrorist attacks to happen.

this is NOT an AQ-related operation against the West. This is a home-grown terrorist attack.

The perpetrator's name is Anders Behring Breivik

Posted by GW at July 22, 2011 8:13 PM ET:

The perp is said to be a "blond Norwegian man." Norway's version of Timothy McVeigh or a Norwegian who became a radical islamist. I say the former and not the latter.

Posted by Neo at July 22, 2011 8:22 PM ET:

“i get this feeling sometimes that folks here actually 'want' terrorist attacks to happen.”


Andrew,
What foundation do you have for your feeling that people here ‘want’ terrorist attacks. Many of us may be guilty of jumping to conclusions based on a long and well documented association of terrorist bombings with Islamist extremists. This one could well be associated with ‘right wing’ extremism. There is some history there too, the Oklahoma City bombing, many other smaller incidents in the United States & Europe. There is a long standing violent fringe there.

Posted by GW at July 22, 2011 8:24 PM ET:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anders_Behring_Breivik

Posted by Phil Ossiferz Stone at July 22, 2011 8:28 PM ET:

How did one psychotic Norske set up one or more VBIED's and then commute to machine-gun a bunch of children at a different location...?

I wouldn't put it past the Norwegian authorities to sit on the information, but I'm willing to bet this man was a Western 'revert' to Islam.... and he did not act alone. We'll know within a couple of days.

Posted by do justice! at July 23, 2011 5:20 AM ET:

The life imprisonment, specially in Norwgian prison context, awarded to the culprit does not lift the scale of gravity of the lives lost and the damage caused! It does give sense, and hence better to re define the judgment to make the law a law so that it does justice!!

Posted by Neo at July 23, 2011 7:57 AM ET:

Phil Ossiferz Stone said: “I wouldn't put it past the Norwegian authorities to sit on the information, but I'm willing to bet this man was a Western 'revert' to Islam.... and he did not act alone. We'll know within a couple of days.”

I can’t see any possible reason the Norwegian authorities would have for sitting on the information or otherwise distorting it. The off hand suggestion that they would, lacking any evidence supporting the notion, sounds like paranoid insinuation. It’s one thing to jump to conclusions, it’s quite another to stick to a concocted view of events in the face of solid evidence that negates that view.

Posted by John at July 23, 2011 9:34 AM ET:

@Neo et al.
"What foundation do you have for your feeling that people here ‘want’ terrorist attacks. Many of us may be guilty of jumping to conclusions based on a long and well documented association of terrorist bombings with Islamist extremists. This one could well be associated with ‘right wing’ extremism. There is some history there too, the Oklahoma City bombing, many other smaller incidents in the United States & Europe. There is a long standing violent fringe there."



Certainly such a "long and well documented history", which seems to be common knowledge these days, warrants suspicion. After all, radical Islamist terrorism is increasing- during 2010 as many as 179 individuals were arrested in the EU for "Islamist terrorist offenses", and a total of three attacks were carried out, according to Europol's TE-SAT 2011. This category has now reached almost 33% of total arrests, and almost 1.5% of 'successful' attacks in the EU member countries. Of course, if one wants to analyze based on well documented history, one might equally well consider the 349 individuals arrested for national separatist terrorism, in which category 160 attacks were carried out; or perhaps what's generically called "lef-wing and anarchist" attacks, of which 45 occurred in the EU member states during 2010. Surprisingly (perhaps) there were no right wing extremist terror attacks during 2010. Earlier years the frequency seems roughly equal to that of radical Islamist attacks. So far based on Europol's reports. It would be interesting to know about the history of the Scandinavian countries, what form of civil unrest or terror that has been most disruptive. Sweden had the riots in Gothenburg in 2001, which was left-wing, and the "Laser man" in early -90s, which was at least partially race motivated. As far as I can tell there isn't really a history of Islamist terrorism in these countries, and if there is civil unrest it is more commonly left- or right-wing extremism.



This site is devoted to the Long War, and people here have a main interest and perspective that puts Islamist terrorism in focus. It is understandable that this is where speculation goes. In this particular incident, however, there were several hints early on that this might be something else entirely. Witnesses describe a tall blond speaking in a local dialect of Norwegian; Nasir's claim on behalf of "Helpers" is quickly and confusedly retracted (http://www.jihadica.com/alleged-claim-for-oslo-attacks/); the nature of the event attacked by the gunman at the island (a moderate leftist political youth camp). Analysts in Sweden and Norway seemed to say that the bomb in Oslo by itself might be interpreted one way, but with the two attacks taken together, it was very unlikely to be "international terrorism, in it's purest form" (sorry blert. This is a great open source website, and you all are so much more knowledgeable than I am. But we should all be careful of our ability to think straight.



Phil Ossiferz Stone said:
"I wouldn't put it past the Norwegian authorities [...]"



I would. The Norwegian authorities have addressed the crisis with admirable sense and composure. I'm sorry that you feel inclined to insult them by such insinuation. I agree with Neo, without evidence it seems a bit paranoid.



I hope I haven't offended anyone, I'm grateful to this community for the many things I've learned here. Keep up the good work.

Posted by Neo at July 23, 2011 1:22 PM ET:

Thanks, John A very well thought out commentary.