Oslo(ANN) A massive explosion rocked a government district in Norway’s capital Friday, killing seven people and injuring many more, and a shooter at a political convention on an island north of Oslo appeared to have inflicted more casualties, in incidents police are treating as connected, apolice spokesman said.
“Central Oslo looks more like a battlefield,” said Runar Kvernen, a spokesman for the police directorate who was reached by telephone. “The headquarters of the Norwegian government is almost destroyed. It damaged a lot of a of buildings.”
The downtown target appeared to have been the Ministry of Petroleum and Energy, according to a police officer on the scene who spoke to the Dagbladet newspaper.
Smoke could be seen billowing from a high-rise government building on video images of central Oslo, though Kvernen said that the fires were under control. There were several injured people dripping with blood, and documents, broken glass and debris littered the ground. Reporters on the scene said that the area had not been crowded on a Friday afternoon when many people were on vacation.
Kvernen said that police had shut down central Oslo and were urging people to “get home and stay inside. “We are not 100 percent sure what we are dealing with here,” he said.
The Norwegian news agency NTB quoted police as saying that a bomb caused the explosion. Kvernen said he could not confirm that a bomb was the cause.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, speaking on NRK television, said he was safe and had not been in the area at the time of the explosion. He said no cabinet ministers had been hurt.
Kvernen also described “another very dramatic situation” on an island north of Oslo where a youth political conference of the ruling Labor Party was being held. Shots had been fired on the island, he said, and one gunman arrested.
“This is really bad,” he said. “The police have reason to believe that these incidents are connected.”
An eyewitness to the shootings on Utoya Island, about 25 miles from the capital, said in an interview on NRK television that he had seen at least 20 bodies at the camp. A video feed from a helicopter over the island broadcast on the TV2 channel showed dozens of small colorful tents at a campground that appeared to be about the length of a football field.
Norwegian news media earlier reported dozens of ambulances streaming toward the island from Oslo.
Kvernen said that a number of injured people had been evacuated by helicopter and that Norway’s equivalent of SWAT teams were searching the island for explosives “and everything.” He said that there was not yet a confirmed count of dead and injured at the camp.
Norwegian media cited witnesses who said that the shooter on the island was blond and wearing a police uniform, but Kvernen said that there was not yet an official police description of the man who was brought into custody.
Norwegian news agency NTB said that former prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland had been present at the conference and that Stoltenberg was scheduled to speak there tomorrow.
Araweelonews Mobile Oslo.