OSLO, July 23 (Xinhua) — The death toll of the twin attacks Friday in Norway may surpass 87 after more victims were discovered in the shooting spree two hours after a bomb explosion that ripped buildings in the heart of Norway’s government.
The figure was revised after police said at least 80 people were killed in the shooting spree at a youth camp some 40 kilometers west of the Norwegian capital city Oslo.
The shooting is of “catastrophic dimensions” and many more victims had been discovered, Police director Oystein Maeland told a news conference early Saturday.
“The updated information we know now is at least 80,” he said.
Local police had put the death toll of the shooting spree in the Buskerud county, near Oslo, at 10.
A gunman wearing police uniforms and police identification landed on a small island about 40 kilometers west of Oslo, shooting people at a youth camp two hours after the deadly bomb explosion rocked the government building quarters in the Norwegian capital city.
A large number of people were injured in the incident.
The gunman in his 30s was described carrying a pistol and a rifle with telescopic sight. He started shooting a few minutes after he landed on the island known as Utoeya, in the Buskerud county.
The culprit, who has a Norwegian look and speaks an eastern dialect of the Norwegian language, was arrested later by police.
Eyewitnesses said the man fired several shots into participants of an annual event of the Workers’ Youth League. Some terrified young people jumped into water for safety.
At a press conference on Friday evening, Sveinung Sponheim, deputy police chief in Oslo, said they feared there was a bomb on the island.
Police were checking whether a likely correlation exists between the shooting incident and the bomb explosion which turned an area of downtown Oslo into a war-like zone.
At least seven people were killed in the bomb explosion and 16 others injured, according to a police spokesman. Two of the injured were in critical conditions.
Police said early Saturday that the deadly blast that shook Oslo city center on Friday was caused by a car bomb.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg called on Norwegians to remain calm and do not let panic spread.
Until now, a Norwegian man who has links to right-wing extremis had been arrested.
“Our information is that he is a Norwegian,” Justice Minister Knut Storberget told a news conference. “I don’t know so much about him.”
Earlier reports cited police as saying that the terror acts were carried out by a home-grown terrorist.
Stoltenberg termed the incident as “a national disaster.”
At a press conference Saturday morning, Stoltenberg said what happened on Friday was a national tragedy which Norway has never experienced after World War II.
“It’s extraordinary hard for me because Utoeya is a place I have been every summer since 1974,” said the prime minister from the Labor Party.
Now a youth paradise has been turned into a hell in a few hours, he added.
Stoltenberg said it was difficult to express in words how much sympathy he had for those affected