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Twin Norway terror attack kills dozens; 'Youngsters shot as they swam away'.

Byline: Michael Black

ABOMB ripped open buildings in the heart of Norway's government yesterday before a man dressed as a police officer opened fire at an island youth camp connected to the ruling party, leaving at least 17 dead in the attacks.

Seven people were killed in the bomb blast and at least nine more in the camp shootings, the peaceful nationls worst violence since the Second World War.

Oslo police said nine or 10 people were killed at the camp on Utoya island, where the youth wing of the Labour Party was holding a summer camp for hundreds of teenagers.

Acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said the two attacks were belived to be linked - the man arrested for the shooting had been spotted in Oslo before the explosion there.

Aerial images broadcast by Norway's TV2 showed members of a SWAT team dressed in black arriving at the island in boats and running up the dock.

Behind them, people stripped down to their underwear swam away from the island toward shore, some using flotation devices. One eyewitness claimed that they were shot at as they tried to escape.

The shooting suspect, who was said to be dressed in a police uniform when he opened fire into a crowd of youths, is believed to be Norwegian.

The youth wing of Stoltenberg's Labour Party organises an annual summer camp on the island, 60 miles northwest of Oslo. Stoltenberg had been scheduled to speak there tomorrow.

"There are at least five people who have been seriously wounded and have been transported to a local hospital," said party spokesman Per Gunnar Dahl.

He said the shooting "created a panic situation where people started to swim from the island" to escape.

In Oslo, the capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, the bombing left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings.

Most of the windows in the 20-floor high-rise where Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his administration work were shattered. Other buildings damaged house government offices and the headquarters of some of Norway's leading newspapers.

Stoltenberg was working at home Friday and was unharmed.

Police said the explosion was caused by "one or more" bombs. They later sealed off the nearby offices of broadcaster TV 2 after discovering a suspicious package.

The United States, European Union, Nato and the UK, all condemned the bombing.

The attacks come as Norway grapples with a home-grown terror plot linked to al Qaida. Two suspects are in jail awaiting charges.

Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he is deported from the Scandinavian country.

The indictment centred on statements that Mullah Krekar - the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam - made to various news media, including American network NBC.

CAMERON PLEDGE DAVID Cameron last night expressed outrage at the terrorist attacks. The Prime Minister pledged Britain's help to track down the "evil" perpetrators behind the huge bomb in Oslo and shootings on an island near the capital.

Mr Cameron said: "I was outraged to hear about the explosion in Oslo and attack in Utoya today that have killed and injured innocent people. My thoughts are with the wounded and those who have lost friends and family, and I know everyone in Britain will feel the same."

He added: "These attacks are a stark reminder of the threat we all face from terrorism.

"I have called Prime Minister Stoltenberg this evening to express my sincere condolences and to let him know that our thoughts are with the Norwegian people at this tragic time."

CAPTION(S):

ATTACKS The carnage in central Oslo and, top right, Utoya island
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EXNO
Date:Jul 23, 2011
Words:620
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