• Norway's news in English
 

Witnesses describe 'war zone' after Oslo bomb

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
Oslo meet pledges to protect schools in war
An outdoor school in Afghanistan shown in GCPEA's video. Photo: Screen Grab

Oslo meet pledges to protect schools in war

Almost 40 countries have pledged at a conference in Oslo to do more to protect students caught up in conflicts such as those in Nigeria and Afghanistan, which have suffered recent armed attacks on schools. READ  

Norway’s jobless youth lack key skills: OECD
Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg visits a classroom in Norway. Photo: Vegard Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Norway’s jobless youth lack key skills: OECD

Young, unemployed Norwegians are further behind in essential skills such as reading, writing, and numeracy than most other rich world countries, according to a damning new report. READ  

Jay Z sparks black rights storm at Norway's Tidal
The near absence of black staff in this photo displeased Jay Z watchers. Photo: Beyonce.com

Jay Z sparks black rights storm at Norway's Tidal

A race storm probably wasn’t the first thing staff at Spotify-rival WiMP expected when it was bought and renamed Tidal earlier this year, but that’s what happened when Jay Z and Beyonce, the US music duo behind the purchase, dropped in to the office. READ  

Norway Child Welfare Service in $3m lawsuit
Lawyer Mette Yvonne Larsen wants compensation of $3m. Photo: Fredrik Varfjell / NTB scanpix

Norway Child Welfare Service in $3m lawsuit

Five brothers and sisters are suing Norway’s Child Welfare Service for 25m NOK ($3m) for failing to protect them from their psychiatrically ill father despite frequent alerts that he was abusing them and their mother. READ  

Norway FA to vote against graft-hit Blatter
Norwegian Football Federation president Yngve Hallén in discussion with Sepp Blatter at a match between Norway and Bulgaria in 2014. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt / NTB scanpix

Norway FA to vote against graft-hit Blatter

Norway’s leading football body has announced that it will back Uefa president Michel Platini’s campaign to oust Fifa president Sepp Blatter, ending fears that it might rally behind the scandal-hit Swiss football boss. READ  

Two-thirds negative to child marrying a Muslim
Somali women celebrate Somalia's National Day in Oslo's Vaterland Park. Photo: Morten Holm/Scanpix

Two-thirds negative to child marrying a Muslim

Two thirds of Norwegians would react negatively if one of their children married a Muslim, according to the latest annual survey by Norway’s Directorate of Integration and Diversity (IMDI) READ  

Norway social workers lied in court to keep child
Arne Seland, the defence lawyer who won the woman back custody over her son. Photo: Advokat-Huset.no

Norway social workers lied in court to keep child

Norway's controversial Child Welfare Service submitted false evidence in order to keep a child in foster care against the wishes of the mother, a court in Norway has ruled. READ  

Stolen monkeys returned to Oslo reptile park
Harry, the cotton tail tamarin, and his brother Thomas, who remains at the park. Photo: Oslo Reptile Park

Stolen monkeys returned to Oslo reptile park

The two monkeys stolen from a Reptile Park in Oslo were returned alive and healthy on Wednesday night, by what their keeper referred to as “an anonymous and repentant sinner”. READ  

Norway jumps Sweden in 'global competitiveness'
IMD's

Norway jumps Sweden in 'global competitiveness'

Norway has been crowned the best place to do business in Scandinavia by Switzerland’s IMD business school, leaping three places since last year’s ranking to overtake its rival Sweden. READ  

Norway to pull $900bn oil fund out of coal
A coal mining operation run by Peabody Energy, one of the world's few pure-play coal miners. Photo: Peabody Energy

Norway to pull $900bn oil fund out of coal

Norway’s parliament has unanimously agreed that the country’s $900bn oil fund should radically reduce its investments in coal producers and coal-burning utilities to help limit climate change. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Bupa
Sponsored Article
Healthcare: 9 questions every expat should ask
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
International
'If Snowden wins Nobel Prize, arrest him!': MP
Culture
VIDEO: Swim ace does 'Pool Rubik's Challenge'
National
Norwegian man in 7,000 litre 'Ice Truck Challenge'
Society
Norwegian brewery pulls 'fart-smelling' beer
Sport
Ødegaard: Norway's youngest player ever
National
Miracle cat survives 20 gunshots in Norway
National
Second death within hours at Chess Olympics
National
Norway and Sweden mark 200 years of peace
Culture
Interview: Helene Meldahl, selfie artist
Society
Now serving ... Norway's smallest bar
Travel
Floating Northern Lights hotel planned in Norway
National
Circus camel escapes again
Society
Brit's charity tractor trek heads for Norway
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

2,241
jobs available