No Utøya summer camp for Labour youth: official

Norway's Labour Party youth wing, targeted in the July 2011 attack on Utøya island that left 69 young people dead, will not hold its annual summer camp on the island this year, it said on Wednesday.

No Utøya summer camp for Labour youth: official
Eskil Pedersen (File photo: Scanpix)

"From a practical point of view, it's impossible and we have the feeling it would be inappropriate to hold a political summer camp on Utøya this year," the head of the Labour youth wing, Eskil Pedersen, told daily Verdens Gang.

On July 22nd, right-wing extremist Anders Behring Breivik, dressed as a police officer, spent more than an hour methodically shooting and killing 69 people, mainly teens, attending the camp on Utøya.

The small island, located some 40 kilometres north-west of Oslo, is currently in the process of being restored. Its dining hall, where many of the victims died, is set for demolition.

Immediately after the attack, Pedersen had vowed to "take back" the site and said new camps would be organised quickly, following a practice that dates back some 60 years.

"At the time it was difficult to gauge the amount of work and time needed in order to be able to reclaim possession of Utøya," Pedersen said on Wednesday.

"But our goal remains the same … we will have summer camps there, but not this year," he said.

A ceremony marking the first anniversary of the attacks may however take place on the island on July 22nd, he said.

Just prior to his killing spree on Utøya, Behring Breivik, who has claimed to be on a crusade against multi-culturalism and the "Muslim invasion" of Europe, set off a car bomb outside government buildings in Oslo, killing eight people.

Behring Breivik's trial is due to start on April 16th.

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Kongsberg attacker killed victims with ‘sharp object’

Norwegian police said Monday that the five victims of last week's attack were killed by a "sharp object" used by the suspect, not a bow and arrows.

The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident.
The Kongsberg attacker is said to have killed five people with sharp objects. Pictured is police tape from a separate incident. Photo by Søren Storm Hansen on Flickr.

“At some point he discarded or lost his bow and arrows,” police inspector Per Thomas Omholt told reporters.

He said that during the attack on Wednesday the suspect killed “five people with a sharp object both in private addresses and in public spaces”.

Police, who had previously said that the suspect Espen Andersen Brathen was armed with a bow and arrows and two other weapons, did not specify the nature of the sharp weapons, adding that they were still interviewing witnesses.

“Everything points to the victims being selected at random,” Omholt said.

According to the police, more than 10 people were also shot at with arrows at the start of the attack, but none were killed with this weapon.

READ MORE: Norway police query Kongsberg attacker’s Muslim faith

During police questioning, Brathen has confessed to the killings and to wounding three others.

The 37-year-old Danish citizen has announced publicly that he is a convert to Islam and initially police reported that there had been fears of radicalisation.

He is however being kept in a medical facility pending a psychiatric evaluation, which is necessary to determine whether Brathen can be held legally responsible for his actions.

“As far as motive is concerned, illness remains the main hypothesis. And as far as conversion to Islam is concerned, this hypothesis is weakened,” Omholt added.

On Saturday, police announced the identities of the five victims, four women and one man: Andrea Meyer, 52, Hanne Merethe Englund, 56, Liv Berit Borge, 75, Gunnar Erling Sauve, 75 and Gun Marith Madsen, 78.