22nd July, 2011
Norwegian police have said that an explosion in Oslo this afternoon was caused by a bomb, and has led to “deaths and injuries” – while Sky cable television, UK, reports that sources also claimed a nearby childrenâ€™s camp was attacked.
Police said there were “one or more powerful explosions in the government building in Oslo.”
They have told people in the Norwegian capital to stay away from the city centre and limit the use of mobile phones.
A government minister has said that some people are trapped at the bomb site.
Sky sources said that survivors reported a strong smell of sulphur which has led to police investigating the theory this was a car bomb using fertiliser nitrate.
Skyâ€™s security editor, Sam Kiley said that earlier this year, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula released a bomb-making handbook which contained notes on how to build fertiliser bombs.
“The knowhow is out there and the materials are out there,” he said.
And he added that if it was a fertiliser car bomb, it would have been very damaging.
“You could get a ton of relatively high explosive concentrated in a metal box – what you have is a gigantic grenade.”
The explosion was thought to be outside the building that housed the offices of the Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg.
He was not thought to have been in his office at the time, and was reported to be safe.
It was also thought to be near Norwayâ€™s biggest tabloid newspaper.
Mr. Stoltenberg described the situation as “very serious” but said it was too soon to say what caused the explosion.
Journalist Asgeir Ueland said that Oslo is a popular destination for people from other parts of Norway.
He said the streets were crowded: “It happened when people were packing up for the weekend and leaving their offices.
“There were lots of people with blood on their faces and severe cuts.”
Craig Barnes is in Oslo and said that he was shocked at what has happened.
“It is a very nice, safe place to live.
“Norwegians are very friendly and I think everyone gets on.
“I think this is going to change a lot of views now. There will be questions regarding safety.”
Christopher Hall was at home nearby when he heard the explosion.
“I thought it was thunder as it has been raining all day,” he said.
“It is the kind of thing you imagine will never happen near where you are.”
Nearby offices in the Norwegian capital were evacuated.
Large amounts of glass and metal were seen in the street.
Police and fire officials have declined to comment on the cause of the explosion.
The wreckage of a car was seen outside one building and there was early speculation that the damage was consistent with that from a car bomb.
NATO member, Norway has been the target of threats in the past, particularly for its involvement in Afghanistan and Libya.
The country has also experienced problems with several home-grown terror plots linked to al Qaeda.
Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he was deported.
The Swedish foreign minister, Carl Bildt, posted a message on Twitter about the bombs.
“Terrorism has struck. Police confirms bomb in Oslo. We are all Norwegians.”