OSLO, Norway — A homegrown terrorist set off a deadly explosion in downtown Oslo before heading to a summer camp dressed as a police officer to commit one of the deadliest shooting sprees in history, killing at least 80 people as terrified youths ran and even swam for their lives, police said Friday.
Police initially said about 10 were killed at the forested camp on the island of Utoya, but some survivors said they thought the toll was much higher. Police director Oystein Maeland said early today that many more victims had been discovered.
'It's taken time to search the area. What we know now is that we can say that there are at least 80 killed at Utoya,' Maeland said. 'It goes without saying that this gives dimensions to this incident that are exceptional.'
A suspect in the shootings, and the Oslo explosion that killed seven people, was arrested. Though police did not release his name, Norwegian national broadcaster NRK identified him as Anders B. Breivik, 32, and said police searched his Oslo apartment overnight.
A police official said the suspect appears to have acted alone in both attacks, and that 'it seems like that this is not linked to any international terrorist organizations.' The official spoke on condition of anonymity because that information had not been officially released by Norway's police.
'It seems it's not Islamic-terror related,' the official said. 'This seems like a madman's work.'
The official said the attack 'is probably more Norway's Oklahoma City than it is Norway's World Trade Center.' Domestic terrorists carried out the 1995 attack on a federal building in Oklahoma City, while foreign terrorists were responsible for the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The official added, however, 'it's still just hours since the incident happened. And the investigation is going on with all available resources.'
The attacks formed the deadliest day of terror in Western Europe since the 2004 Madrid train bombings, when shrapnel-filled bombs exploded, killing 191 people and wounding about 1,800.
The motive was unknown, but both attacks were in areas connected to the ruling Labor Party government. The youth camp, about 20 miles northwest of Oslo, is organized by the party's youth wing, and the prime minister had been scheduled to speak there today.
A 15-year-old camper named Elise said she heard gunshots, but then saw a police officer and thought she was safe. Then he started shooting people right before her eyes.
'I saw many dead people,' said Elise, whose father
didn't want her to disclose her last name. 'He first shot people on the island. Afterward he started shooting people in the water.'
Elise said she hid behind the same rock that the killer was standing on. 'I could hear his breathing from the top of the rock,' she said.
She said it was impossible to say how many minutes passed while she was waiting for him to stop.
The blast in Oslo, Norway's capital and the city where the Nobel Peace Prize is awarded, left a square covered in twisted metal, shattered glass and documents expelled from surrounding buildings.
Most of the windows in the 20-floor high-rise where Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and his administration work were shattered.