Less than two hours after a massive vehicle bomb was detonated near the Norwegian Prime Minister's office in Oslo, a guy disguised as a police officer opened fire at a youth camp the Prime Minister was supposed to be visiting. [Updated]
A man disguised as a police officer began shooting where prime minister Jens Stoltenberg was attending a Labour party conference at Utoya, Stoltenberg has just confirmed.
He said there is a 'critical and serious situation' where he is (but he is safe).
[UPDATE: The prime minister wasn't there at the time of the shooting. He'd been scheduled to attend but didn't.]
Police believe the bombing and the shooting are related, which would suggest a coordinated terrorist attack. The Atlantic has a good run down of why peaceful, good-natured Norway could be a target for Islamist terrorists. (In fact three men with alleged ties to al-Qaeda were arrested in Norway and Germany for plotting terrorist attacks about a year ago.) In short, it could be retaliation for Norway's role in occupying Afghanistan, or because some extremists are still possibly upset about that stupid Prophet Muhammad cartoon from 2006 (let it go, guys). Or they could be pissed off about Norway trying to deport an Kurdish Islamist leader, Mulla Krekar, back to Iraq.
2:05pm: According to Jihadi-watcher Will McCants, a group named the "Helpers of Global Jihad" are claiming responsibility on a Jihadist forum "in response to occupation of Afghanistan and insults to Prophet." Of course, anyone could claim responsibility right now.
The bomber is foreign, according to police. The shooter, however, doesn't appear to be your typical Mulsim extremist: He's reportedly Nordic in appearance, more than six feet tall, with blond hair. A SWAT team shot him, and his condition is unknown. (But he's presumably alive and under arrest.)
Eye-witness on Utøya LIVE on NRK just said that he saw 20-30 dead youths floating by the shore. Shocking
4:23pm: Or, maybe this is a case of domestic terrorism? The "Helpers of Global Jihad" have now retracted their statement claiming responsibility. According to journalist Rune Hakonsen, reports say that the police don't believe the attacker was related to international terrorism: "police think its a local variant directed at the current political system."
Police have confirmed 9 or 10 people dead at Utoya, where the shooting occurred, with several more injured, according to the Guardian.
Some pictures of the scene in Oslo today are below.
Click any image to view full-size.
[Images via AP]