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TERROR TRIAL: DAY 7

BREIVIK

Witnesses describe ‘war zone’ after Oslo bomb

Experts and witnesses described on Tuesday in often horrifying detail the massive blast that rocked Oslo when Anders Behring Breivik bombed a government building last July, killing eight people.

Witnesses describe 'war zone' after Oslo bomb
Police operation chief Thor Langli in court on Tuesday (Photo: Lise Åserud/Scanpix).

"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.

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TRAVEL

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 

Find out what's going on in Norway on Tuesday with The Local's short roundup of important news.

Today in Norway: A roundup of the latest news on Tuesday 
Oslo Operahus .Photo by Arvid Malde on Unsplash

Only one in ten Norwegians plan to travel abroad this summer 

Around ten percent of people in Norway are planning to take a holiday abroad this summer, according to a survey carried out by tourism organisation NHO Reiseliv.

Seven out of ten respondents said they still plan to holiday in Norway this year, even if they receive a vaccination before the holidays start.

READ MORE: ‘My arguments didn’t matter’: How I ended up in a hotel quarantine in Norway 

Viken and Vestland are this year’s most popular travel destinations for Norwegians planning a “staycation”. Young people were the most likely to want to remain in Norway this summer. Just under half of those aged between 18 and 29 said they wished to stay in Norway this summer. 

Third of Utøya survivors have received abuse or threats

A third of Utøya survivors have been victims of hate speech or received threats, according to a new survey. 

Three-quarters of respondents said that the reason they received the abuse was linked directly to the Utøya terror attack, the Norwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Studies (NKVTS) found. 

The massacre on Utøya was the second of two terror attacks carried out by Anders Breivik on July 22nd, 2011. Of the 69 people who died in the attack, 32 were under the age of 18. 

Fewer in Oslo willing to ditch cars 

A climate survey carried out by the city of Oslo has shown that fewer people than before are willing to cut back on using their cars. The proportion of those who think that Oslo city centre should be car-free has fallen to 45 percent from 52 percent last year. 

READ ALSO: Could Norway introduce mandatory inbuilt car breathalysers 

When asked whether Oslo City Council had gone too far in removing cars from the city centre, almost half said that they believed that this was the case. 

“A change in the attitude around these measures may be due to more people feeling dependent on cars during the pandemic. There has been a lot of debate about measures that have been introduced or are planned to be introduced,” Heidi Sørensen, Director of the Climate Agency, told the Dagsavisen newspaper

Tighter Coronavirus measures in Trondheim 

Gyms, museums and swimming pools have been closed, and alcohol service in hospitality has been stopped in Trondheim. The new measures come barely a week after restrictions were last tightened. 

“We need to shut down most of Trondheim to get control. It is only days since we last tightened measures, but we are in a situation where we must take even stronger action,” Morten Wolden, the municipal director for Trondheim, told state broadcaster NRK.

Norway reports 292 new Covid-19 cases

On Monday, 292 new coronavirus infections were registered in Norway. This is a drop of 52 compared to the seven-day average of 344. 

In Oslo, 48 cases were recorded, an increase of two on the capital’s seven day average of 46. 

The R-number or reproduction rate in Norway is currently 1.0. This means that every ten people that are infected, will, on average, only infect another ten people, indicating that the infection level is stable. 

Total number of Covid-19 cases so far. Source: NIPH
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