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Blast in Oslo, Norway

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  • Blast in Oslo, Norway

    http://motherjones.com/politics/2011...ed-oslo-norway

    Friday's blast in Oslo hit Norway's government headquarters.

    — By Asawin Suebsaeng, Tim McDonnell, and Nick Baumann

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    8 Comments | Post Comment
    Fri Jul. 22, 2011 10:25 AM PDT

    This explainer is being updated as more news emerges.

    The basics: A massive explosion hit Norway's government hub in central Oslo on Friday, killing at least seven people and injuring at least 15 others. The six-story building that was most heavily damaged included the oil ministry and is next to the building that houses the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The PM was unharmed in the blast and is now operating out of an undisclosed location. Witness testimony and damage at the scene are consistent with reports of a car bombing. The New York Times reports:

    Stunned office staff and civil servants working in the vicinity of the bombed building said two explosions could be heard in close succession. The sound of the blasts echoed across the city just before 3:30 p.m. local time. Giant clouds of light-colored smoke continued to rise hundreds of feet into the air over the city…

    Photos and television footage showed windows blown out in the 17-story office building across the street from the oil ministry, and the street and plaza areas on each side were strewn with glass and debris.

    A police spokesman has told Norwegian media that the police "still do not have full control of the situation," and are "still searching for other possible explosives." The first person on the scene "described it as 'worse than a war zone,'" says Joe Sivilli, who's talking to Mother Jones' Tim McDonnell from on the ground in Oslo. Sivilli, who speaks Norwegian fluently, works at a home-brewed beer shop a few blocks away from the site of the bombing. He says he felt a "rumble, like a small earthquake," when the bomb went off, but assumed it was just "construction or something like that." He'll be monitoring the Norwegian-language media for us as this story develops.

    Wasn't there another attack? It's too early to tell for sure whether they're connected, but a gunman dressed as a policeman reportedly opened fire this afternoon at a Labour party youth camp near Utoya, Norway. Initial reports suggested that Stotltenberg was scheduled to be at the camp that day, but those are unconfirmed. (He has attended gatherings at the camp almost every year in recent memory.) Al Jazeera English has reported that someone has been arrested, and local media are reporting that several people have been killed, but those reports are also unconfirmed.

    Close to 700 teenagers had gathered on the island. CBS News reports that Kurt Lier, Oslo's assistant chief of police, "had little information about what had happened on the island, but said if people are leaving island swimming, it is a 'long swim.'" Hans-Inge Langø, a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs (NUPI), says the "timing and targets [of the attacks are] too similar for this not to be connected."

    NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Station, has reported that "there are some people laying dead on the island, but they aren't getting them until a bomb squad has searched the island." Some witnesses who got away from Utoya told NRK reporters that the attacker there "had a Norwegian look," tall with blonde hair. The BBC reports that police in Oslo believe that the bomb attack was of foreign origin.

    How is the Norwegian government responding? Norway's governing party is the center-left Labour Party. The government has advised citizens to stay away from central Oslo tonight, and to stay at home and refrain from gathering in large groups. Stoltenberg, the prime minister, gave an interview to NRK from an undisclosed location around 8:15 p.m. local time (11:15 a.m. EST), and said that Norwegians "must not let terrorism force us to change our society, but stand up to fear."

    What about the US? President Barack Obama was briefed on the attack this morning by John Brennan, his top counterterrorism adviser.

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    Who's responsible? Why did they do it? Though no organization has claimed responsibility for the bombing, Islamist groups have targeted Norway before, reportedly due to the country's involvement in the NATO air war in Libya, the War in Afghanistan, the arrests of three men with possible ties to Al Qaeda in early July, and counter-terrorism measures. ABC News reports:

    Intelligence sources are examining both Ansar al-Islam and Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula for possible links to the attack.

    Earlier this month, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terrorism charges against an Iraqi-born cleric who had allegedly threatened the lives of Norwegian politicians. Mullah Krekar, the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, said in a news conference in 2010 that if he was deported from Norway he would be killed and, therefore, Norwegian politicians deserved the same fate, according to an AP report. The Norwegian government had considered deporting Krekar because he was seen as a national security threat.

    The Atlantic reported last year on Norway's troubles with other bomb plots and possible explanations as to why the Scandinavian country has been made a new target:

    Why on Earth would Norway be a target for attack? The country is famed as an international peace negotiator, the home of the Nobel Peace Prize, and the distributor of more foreign aid per capita than any other country. It's an all-round international good guy…

    Most likely, a combination of factors placed Norway on the jihadists' radar. In al-Qaeda's binary worldview, Norway is part of the "Jewish-Crusader alliance." Not a platinum member, perhaps, but a member nonetheless. If you're not with al-Qaeda, you're with the United States.

    Norway has long been considered a legitimate but low-priority target. Frustrated by the difficulty of striking key adversaries like Britain and the United States, al-Qaeda seems to be moving down the food chain.
    Greater love has no man than to lay his life down for a friend.

  • #2
    And yet, even after so many people jumping on the Islamic Terrorist Bandwagon, it appears the attacker was an anti-Muslim, right-wing, Christian Fundamentalist.
    "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

    Comment


    • #3
      The story I read linked both events with the same suspect.

      We can't rule out the possibility that he's just plain nuts, with no recognizable agenda at all (except maybe some unexplainable dissatisfaction with something or other).
      Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

      Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by MarcusKspn View Post
        And yet, even after so many people jumping on the Islamic Terrorist Bandwagon, it appears the attacker was an anti-Muslim, right-wing, Christian Fundamentalist.
        Proof that there are nutjobs on the left, right and every religion under the sun.
        ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
        Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by DeputyChiefGonzo View Post
          Proof that there are nutjobs on the left, right and every religion under the sun.
          Are there nutjobs in the middle?

          Hmmm... deep thought of the day, I'd say.
          I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

          "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

          "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by ChiefKN View Post
            Are there nutjobs in the middle?

            Hmmm... deep thought of the day, I'd say.
            There are nutjobs pretty much anywhere I think. Just look at your average firehouse
            "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." -- Benjamin Franklin

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by MarcusKspn View Post
              There are nutjobs pretty much anywhere I think. Just look at your average firehouse
              Point, set, match...
              I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

              "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

              "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MarcusKspn View Post
                There are nutjobs pretty much anywhere I think. Just look at your average firehouse
                He shoots.. he scores!
                ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
                Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by MarcusKspn View Post
                  There are nutjobs pretty much anywhere I think. Just look at your average firehouse
                  Hey - I resemble that remark!
                  Opinions my own. Standard disclaimers apply.

                  Everyone goes home. Safety begins with you.

                  Comment

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