• Norway edition
 
TERROR TRIAL: DAY 7
Witnesses describe 'war zone' after Oslo bomb
Police operation chief Thor Langli in court on Tuesday (Photo: Lise Åserud/Scanpix).

Witnesses describe 'war zone' after Oslo bomb

Published: 24 Apr 2012 13:36 GMT+02:00
Updated: 24 Apr 2012 13:36 GMT+02:00

"The body was totally crushed," testified Arne Stray-Pedersen, Norway's chief medical examiner, describing the results of one of four autopsies, using anatomy sketches and photos of blast projectiles.

Government employees and passers-by were hit by the massive blast from an explosives-laden van parked outside the building that houses the offices of Labour Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was not there at the time.

Eight people died and nine others were seriously injured in the blast.

"In the government district we found several hundred body pieces," criminal technician Ole Morten Stoerseth told the Oslo district court.

In the courtroom, families of Breivik's victims stifled sobs and embraced, but the accused himself showed no sign of emotion upon hearing details of his bloodbath, as has been the case since his trial started more than a week ago.

On July 22nd, Breivik had placed a 950-kilo bomb, made from fertilizer, diesel and aluminium, in a van that he parked at the foot of the 17-floor government tower.

The 33-year-old right-wing extremist has said the bombing, and the later shooting of 69 people on Utøya island, were "cruel but necessary" to stop the Labour Party's "multicultural experiment" and the "Muslim invasion" of Norway and Europe.

Tor Inge Kristoffersen, a guard in the Norwegian capital's government block, told the court Tuesday how he had seen a white van park in front of the entrance and had begun using surveillance camera images to check whether it was authorized to be there.

"When I was zooming in on the number plate, the car exploded," he testified, adding that "half of the images disappeared from our screens because the cameras had been destroyed in the explosion."

"There was a huge roar. We were so close that we did not hear a blast, but a roar, and we noticed the shockwave in the ceiling over us," he said.

Kristoffersen, who served with the Norwegian military in the Middle East and in the Balkans, continued to work in the government district after the attacks, and said the area had been like "a war zone".

In the weeks after the twin attacks many raised questions about how the right-wing extremist could have parked his van so close to Norway's political nerve centre.

Kristoffersen stressed that long-overdue construction was under way to block off traffic in the street outside the government building, but that in the meantime "illegal parking" was frequent in the area.

"We chased cars away from there every day," he said.

Svein Olav Christensen, a government explosives expert, meanwhile told the court that a reenactment and simulations showed that Breivik's bomb had the energy equivalent of between 400 and 700 kilos of TNT.

"The main charge is easy to make," he said, adding though that "the detonator is more difficult."

Police operation chief Thor Langli was also called to testify Tuesday and described the confusion that followed the blast, with contradictory messages suggesting there were two suspects and possibly other bombs ready to go off.

"I thought there was a connection," he said about the moment when he was told about the Utøya massacre.

"I could not conceive that we could be facing several guys like him at the same time," Langli said, turning towards the accused.

Breivik has been charged with "acts of terror" and faces either 21 years in prison -- a sentence that could be extended indefinitely if he is still considered a threat to society -- or closed psychiatric care, possibly for life.

Breivik himself wants to be found sane and accountable for his actions, so that his anti-Islam ideology, presented in the 1,500-page manifesto he published online just before the attacks, will be taken seriously and not considered the ravings of a lunatic.

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Swedish terror expert slams Norway terror alert
Information or propaganda? Statsbygg put up a poster about the terror incidents on the 22nd of July 2011 and plans for the work on the damaged government buildings. Photo: Berit Roald / Scanpix

Swedish terror expert slams Norway terror alert

A Swedish terrorism researcher has blasted Norway's handling of its recent terror threat, saying the day the threat began was a "total intelligence failure". READ  

Norway set to reduce terror alert
Jon Ståle Stamnes, Assistant National Police Commissioner at The Norwegian Police Directorate. Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Norway set to reduce terror alert

Norway's terror alert level will be reduced from Tuesday, but security will still be somewhat tighter than normal, police chiefs said on Monday. READ  

Security fears disrupt Norway soccer cup
Prime Minister Erna Solberg visits Norway Cup on Ekebergsletta, Oslo. She poses with players from Norway and Malawi. Photo: Audun Braastad / NTB scanpix

Security fears disrupt Norway soccer cup

The world's biggest football tournament opened in Norway on Sunday, amid fears the current terror threat may mar the sporting spectacle. READ  

US or Israel 'behind terror': Islamic leader
Ubaydullah Maroof Hussain. Photo: Thomas Winje Øijord / NTB scanpix

US or Israel 'behind terror': Islamic leader

Muslims in Syria do not understand why Norway is under a terror alert and it is likely propaganda to distract from the troubles in Gaza, says an Islamic spokesperson living in Oslo. READ  

Police know group behind terror threats
Armed police patrolling Oslo Central Train Station on Friday. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Police know group behind terror threats

Police in Norway have confirmed on Sunday they know who are behind the terror threats which have disrupted the country, but not where the group is hiding. READ  

Rape and violence mar Norwegian music festival

Rape and violence mar Norwegian music festival

Police charged one person for rape and are investigating four other sex attacks at a top music festival in Norway over the weekend. READ  

Terror threat forces Bergen airspace closure
Tourists in central Bergen pictured in May 2014. Photo: The Local

Terror threat forces Bergen airspace closure

Norway closed part of the airspace over its second city Bergen and tightened border checks on Saturday, police said, two days after the country upped security following a terror alert. READ  

Jewish museums close after terror alert
The synagogue in Oslo. Photo: Det Mosaike Trossamfund

Jewish museums close after terror alert

Jewish museums in Norway remain closed to the public on Saturday as Norway steps up security following the announcement of a possible imminent terrorist attack by jihadists coming from Syria. READ  

Terror attack feared 'next Monday': TV2
Norwegian PM Erna Solberg and her government fear imminent terror attack. Photo: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Terror attack feared 'next Monday': TV2

Terrorists are planning to launch an attack on Norway on Monday of next week, government sources are reported to have said on Friday. READ  

Statoil tightens security amid terror threat
Helge Lund, CEO of Statoil. Photo: Heiko Junge / NTB scanpix

Statoil tightens security amid terror threat

Statoil, Norway's biggest energy company, has 'increased' security after this week's terror warning announcement, said the firm's CEO on Friday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Plans unveiled for bike trail along former Iron Curtain
National
Norway lifts Segway ban
Culture
GALLERY: Ten great songs about Norway
Society
Høie promises to reform sex change law
Education
Norway fjord invaded by monster jellyfish
Culture
VIDEO: Norwegian anti-Facebook film goes viral
Culture
Norway pop duo hits number 4 on US charts
Sport
Norway fan wins big on Suarez bite bet
National
Solberg 'most chatty' leader on Twitter
Culture
British Airways takes 'Slow TV' to the skies
International
Top Norway lawyers back Snowden Nobel
Society
Buy your own Viking warship for just €160,000
Politics
Norway PM beats Candy Crush level 300
Culture
Norway sticks with fårikål as national dish
International
Cold bathing craze leads to teen death
Society
Sweden threatens to 'annex' the ostehøvel
National
Baby squirrels survive cat attack
Society
Norway's 'cushy' prisons spurring foreign cons
National
Half Norwegians overweight: Gates study
International
VIDEO: Jagland doing press-ups in Donetsk
Business & Money
Striking Norway barbers: 'Let your hair grow'
Culture
Rihanna 'hard to please', Norway's Stargate reveal
International
What do Norwegians really think of Swedes?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

358
jobs available