Friday, July 22, 2011

Bomb blast hits Norwegian PM's office

A bomb has blown out most windows of a government building housing the Norwegian prime minister's office and left at least two people dead and several others injured, news agencies and witnesses say. Friday's blast targeted the 17-storey building housing Jens Stoltenberg's office in the capital Oslo, as well as nearby ministries, including the oil ministry, which was on fire. Camilla Ryste, a government spokeswoman, told the Associated Press news agency Stoltenberg was safe. Police confirmed the attack was a bomb but did not give further details. Hanne Taalsen, a journalist working for TV2, told Al Jazeera the blast happened at 3:20pm local time and that there were "massive damages in the streets" around the building.

Reuters correspondent, Walter Gibbs, said he counted at least eight injured people. There was no immediate claim for responsibility but the tangled wreckage of a car was outside one building. An Associated Press reporter said newspaper offices in the area were also damaged and smoke could be seen drifting in the streets. The reporter said he saw a young man with a bleeding leg being helped away from the area. It was not immediately clear whether there were other injuries. Kristina Overn, a Norwegian journalist, said people were surprised that Norway had been targeted.

"People are really surprised. I am very surprised. People are shocked that this could happen in Oslo," she told Al Jazeera. "People are quite calm, they are not running around or anything. But people are quite shocked. I think most Norwegians consider themselves to be outside of incidents like this." Peter Svaar, a journalist working for NRK, said "the whole of downtown Oslo is sealed off" and spoke of a "very chaotic situation". The attack comes days after Norwegian prosecutors filed a terrorism charge against Mullah Krekar, founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam, who is accused of threatening a former minister, Erna Solberg, with death. "Norway will pay a heavy price for my death," he said. "If, for example, Erna Solberg deports me and I die as a result, she will suffer the same fate." It is not clear whether Friday's attack is related to the threat. Source ( Aljazeera News)

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