Explosion in Central Oslo: Go home and stay calm!

I think it’s safe to say my day just got much worse, as well as everyone else’s in Norway.

OSLO, 5:21 pm: A bomb went off in Oslo today at around 3:30 pm, around the government buildings. The prime minister’s offices have been totaled, but the PM is safe and unharmed. The police has confirmed a bomb, but no one has claimed responsibility yet, at least not that anyone knows. At least two people are confirmed dead, and several more injured. Windows have been blown out of buildings as far as 1 km away from the explosion, it was that powerful. There have been huge fires and complete chaos. As far as I know, no one I know has been injured.

There’s a police press conference in about ten minutes. I’ll make an update when I know more.

UPDATE, 5:48 pm: Police press conference is delayed, so not a whole lot more information yet. They’re now saying “several dead” on TV, though. Morten had to go to work, so I’ve relocated to my mother’s house. Don’t really want to be alone…

UPDATE, 6:00 pm: The police press conference has started. They’re asking everyone to evacuate central Oslo, so if you’re there, get out. Don’t use your mobile phones unless you have to, in order to make sure that important calls get through.

The police are going to enter the buildings. They cannot confirm a car bomb, though it seems reasonable to think that a vehicle was involved. All important buildings and people in central Oslo are now secured. The police won’t comment or speculate on who is behind it at this point.

People who are looking for information on possible missing loved ones can call: 815 02 800

Witnesses who have any information regarding what’s happened, observations of suspicious behaviour in town prior to the explosion or other relevant information, can call: 22 66 99 66

The police is asking everyone to go home and remain calm.

UPDATE, 6:15 pm: Apparently, there’s been a shooting at an AUF (the Labour Party’s youth organisation) summer camp at Utøya, Buskerud, today. No real information to be had as of yet.

The press conference is now over, but they plan to start another in an hour’s time.

UPDATE, 6:20: Prime minister Jens Stoltenberg is being interviewed by phone on TV now. He’s having a meeting with the ministers of justice, health etc. tonight, didn’t hear why because my mum was talking, but presumably to work out a political action plan, discuss options and so on. At least now we know he’s actually safe.

UPDATE, 6:30 pm: @kjetilvevle is tweeting about a man dressed in a police uniform firing shots at Utøya. Still nothing confirmed by police.

UPDATE, 6:40 pm: Several shots still being fired at Utøya. People are swimming away from the island, being picked up by boats. Someone being interviewed by phone on TV says, “It’s total war out there.”

UPDATE, 7:14 pm: NRK can report that the shooter at Utøya is tall, blonde and Nordic looking.

UPDATE, 7:36 pm: 5 or 6 people have been killed at Utøya, reports NRK.

UPDATE, 7:44 pm: BBC World News reports that, according to a witness through Reuters, the army is now taking up positions around central Oslo. I saw military police with red berets in the early footage as well, but I suppose this means the action of closing off the city centre is now being organised by the military.

UPDATE, 7:50 pm: The BBC are now reporting that the Oslo police cannot confirm that ANYONE has been killed at Utøya. This is pretty confusing, but presumably we’ll figure this out eventually.

UPDATE, 8:03 pm: NRK’s US correspondent says that the American government condemns what they perceive to be a pathetic and cowardly act of violence and that their thoughts go out to the Norwegian people. Thank you, America.

UPDATE, 8:37 pm: This from The New York Times:

A terror group, Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (the Helpers of the Global Jihad), issued a statement claiming responsibility for the attack, according to Will McCants, a terrorism analyst at CNA, a research institute that studies terrorism. The message said the attack was a response to Norwegian forces’ presence in Afghanistan and to unspecified insults to the Prophet Muhammad. “We have warned since the Stockholm raid of more operations,” the group said, apparently referred to a bombing in Sweden in December 2010, according to Mr McCants’ translation. “What you see is only the beginning, and there is more to come.” The claim could not be confirmed.

UPDATE, 8:43 pm: The police confirms that they believe the man that they’ve arrested at Utøya was also involved with the bombing in Oslo, based on their knowledge about the man’s identity, but they won’t answer any specific questions about the suspect, whether he’s Norwegian, what his motives were or confirm whether anyone has actually been killed at Utøya or not. Meanwhile, eye-witnesses are claiming that tens of people have been killed in the shooting at Utøya.

UPDATE, 9:00 pm: I’m getting really exhausted from all this, so I think I’m gonna call it a night. If you have a loved one at Ullevål Universitetssykehus in Oslo, you can now call 23 01 51 44. Good night, folks.

Picture stolen from Aftenposten.no

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