• Norway's news in English
 

Witnesses describe 'war zone' after Oslo bomb

AFP · 24 Apr 2012, 13:36

Published: 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.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
US asked Norway to arrest Snowden
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Photo: Guardian

US asked Norway to arrest Snowden

10 hours ago

Norway’s NRK broadcaster has obtained a copy of the formal requests US authorities sent to Norway’s Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Justice asking it to arrest NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden should he enter Norwegian territory.

Norway man attacks police with angle grinder
The Norwegian police car showing the damage done by the man's frenzied attack. Photo: Norwegian Police

Norway man attacks police with angle grinder

17 hours ago

A man has been jailed in Norway for going berserk at a police car with an angle grinder after he was stopped for suspected criminal offences.

Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicyles
The Storskog border station between Norway and Russia. Photo: Cornelius Poppe/NTB scanpix

Syrians cross Norway's Arctic border on bicyles

20 hours ago

More than 100 Syrian refugees have crossed the Arctic border into Norway from Russia on bicycles, exploiting a loophole in the country's border regulations.

Norway gives €5m to Greece for refugees
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg arrives at a press conference on Wednesday. Photo: Cornelius Poppe / NTB scanpix

Norway gives €5m to Greece for refugees

1 day ago

Norway has given Greece €5m in emergency funding to help it provide for a sudden influx of refugees at a time when it is facing its own protracted economic crisis.

Prehistoric elk carving found in Arctic Circle
A carving of an elk (or is it a reindeer?) found last Monday. Photo: Tromsø Museum

Prehistoric elk carving found in Arctic Circle

1 day ago

A set of 7,000-year old rock carvings have been found deep inside the Arctic Circle in a sensational discovery that is being compared to the Unesco-protected Alta petroglyphs found 40 years ago.

Man who gave Mandela his Nobel prize dies
Francis Sejersted awards the prize to then Israeli President Shimon Peres in 1994

Man who gave Mandela his Nobel prize dies

2 days ago

Francis Sejersted, who awarded the Nobel Peace Prize to anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela and then South African president Frederik de Klerk has died aged 79, following a long illness.

Nesbø accused of 'pissing' on Sami people
Ande Somby performs the yoik 'why do you hate me?'. Photo: Screen Grab

Nesbø accused of 'pissing' on Sami people

2 days ago

Blockbuster crime novelist Jo Nesbø has been accused of stereotyping Norway’s Sami people after describing a character as having "narrow eyes” in his new book More Blood.

Video
Norway minister's video 'like North Korea'
Justice Minister Anders Anundsen speaks in front of a police helicopter. Photo: Screen grab

Norway minister's video 'like North Korea'

2 days ago

Norway's Minister of Justice has been accused of North Korean-style propaganda after made a video accusing local media of being too critical of the police.

Retiree finds parked car after three-week search
Björn Brandvold eventually tracked his car down to Max Eyth Straße. Photo: Google Maps

Retiree finds parked car after three-week search

2 days ago

A pensioner from Norway has finally found his car after he parked it in Hanover three weeks ago and then forgot what street it was on.

Oslo police slammed for Roma discrimination
White European beggars such as "Arve" are half as likely to be moved on if found sleeping than Roma beggars. Photo: tian Lysberg Solum / NTB scanpix

Oslo police slammed for Roma discrimination

2 days ago

The police in Oslo are often racist and discriminate against Roma and African homeless people, a damning new report from Norway's National Institute for Human Rights has found.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Norway man built secret child's room in cellar
Education
Norway starts school for Vikings
Sport
Sepp Blatter should win Nobel Peace Prize: Putin
National
The oddest TripAdvisor comments about Norway
National
Experts baffled by freak downpour in Norway
National
Dude, where's my house? Avalanche smashes Norway farmhouse
Culture
VIDEO: Norway artist's naked tree stunt goes awry
Health
Norway scientists find secret behind gluten intolerance
National
VIDEO: Have you seen this jet ski blunder at a Malmö hotel opening?
National
Oslo is the crystal meth capital of Europe
Sport
VIDEO: Man in Norway catches fish too big for boat
International
'Snowden could come to Norway to collect prize'
Technology
Oslo builds world's first bumblebee highway
Culture
World’s biggest elk statue arrives in Oslo
Norway's men soon to be among Europe's fattest
National
Muslims form 'ring of peace' at synagogue
Business & Money
Schumacher's Norway retreat sold for $3m
National
King Harald visits Antarctic namesake
Culture
Norwegians streak the streets of Berlin
Culture
Norway couple find love on word game app
International
Norwegian chef wins world's top food prize
Politics
Solberg: The fight for freedom isn't won
National
Gaza doc named Norway's person of year
National
Norway extends Russian military freeze
National
Kjell Inge Røkke tops Norway's Rich List
International
Surprise! Norway priciest for home comforts
National
Norway terror attacks to become TV drama
International
Malala: Youngest ever Nobel Peace Laureate
National
Norway celebrates 25 years of Sami politics
Business & Money
CurrencyFair: Why it pays when making overseas transfers
International
Norway best country for older people
National
Muslim centre wanted on site of Munch Museum
International
Norway to send military staff in fight against IS
National
Father warns Breivik 'more extreme than ever'
National
Four-year-old Norway girl sleepwalks 4km
Travel
Cruise line offers Northern Lights promise
National
10-tonne shark found dead off Norway coast
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

2,100
jobs available
!-- /1774138/no.mobile.3.320x50 -->