Norway: Labour Party Youth Camp in Utøya Attacked by Gunman Dressed as Police Officer, At Least 80 Killed
BBC News Live and others are confirming a report that a man dressed as a police officer was shooting at people in a youth camp on the island of Utøya, west of Oslo. Many are reportedly hit. It is unclear if this is related to the recent bomb blast in Norway.
Update 1: The Prime Minister of Norway Jens Stoltenberg had at one point been scheduled to attend this rally on Utøya tomorrow. The former Prime Minister, however, was due to speak there today.
Update 2: A police operation is ongoing. Several people injured. The police are evacuating everyone off the island, some are attempting to swim away to safety. Anti-terrorist units sent in.
Update 3: One man has reportedly been arrested on Utøya. NRK has reported that an Islamist group calling itself ‘Helpers of the Global Jihad’ have now posted a message stating that this is only the beginning of the reaction to Norwegian papers publishing cartoons of Mohammed …
Update 4: Several people have been killed in Utøya, according to Norwegian TV2. Some reports are saying eyewitnesses saw more than 20 bodies at the camp. BBC is reporting that Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim in Oslo says the shooter had also been spotted in the capital prior to the explosions.
Update 5: Man arrested is Caucasian, no word yet on what ties this individual has to terror groups. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, speaking at a press conference in Oslo, says ‘We will find the guilty and hold them responsible.’
Update 6: Islamist group ‘Helpers of the Global Jihad’ are now denying any involvement in today’s attack. So far there does not appear to be any solid Islamist connection. Suspect may have acted alone. No word yet on motive. More details will come to light in the coming hours and days.
Update 7: The death toll has, sadly, suddenly risen to at least
84+ killed on Utøya. (Update 7/25 – Police announced Monday that they had dramatically overcounted the number of people slain in a shooting spree at a political youth group’s island retreat and were lowering the confirmed death toll from 86 to 68.)
Update 8: Witnesses suggest that a second shooter may have been involved. Police are investigating. Meanwhile, questions surround whether or not the known shooter’s Facebook page was updated while he was in police custody. Also, it appears that he had apparent neo-Nazi links. Did one or more of these possible neo-Nazi links have access to his Facebook page?
Somalia: Worst Famine in Decades Killing Tens of Thousands, ’800,000 Children at Risk of Dying Without Urgent Assistance’
By Katharine Houreld – “Tens of thousands of Somalis are feared dead in the world’s worst famine in a generation, a crisis so severe that the United States will allow emergency funds to be spent in areas controlled by al-Qaeda-linked militants as long as the fighters do not interfere with aid distributions.
Exhausted, rail-thin women are stumbling into refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia with dead babies and bleeding feet, having left weaker family members behind along the way.
‘Somalia is facing its worst food security crisis in the last 20 years,’ said Mark Bowden, the United Nations’ top official in charge of humanitarian aid in Somalia. ‘This desperate situation requires urgent action to save lives … it’s likely that conditions will deteriorate further in six months.’
The crisis was the worst since 1991-92, when hundreds of thousands of Somalis starved to death, Bowden said. That famine prompted intervention by an international peacekeeping force, but it eventually pulled out after two American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in 1993.
Since then, Western nations have mainly sought to contain the threat of terrorism from Somalia – an anarchic nation where the weak Government battles Islamic militants on land and pirates hijack ships for millions of dollars at sea.” Read more.
Aid ban still in place in Somalia, Islamist militants say – “Islamist militants in Somalia have reversed a pledge to allow foreign aid agencies to operate in famine-struck regions in the nation. ‘The lift of ban on aid agencies doesn’t include the agencies that we banned earlier in areas we control because those agencies don’t do relief work, they are spies and work on political agendas’, Al-Shabaab spokesman Ali Mohamud Raage said Thursday on the militants’ radio station, Al Furqaan… Al-Shabaab originally banned foreign aid organizations from providing aid in southern Somalia in 2009, describing them as Western spies and Christian crusaders.” Read more.
Somali militants vow to block aid workers from famine-stricken south – “An al-Qaeda-linked militant group has said it will not allow banned aid organizations to return, meaning only a handful of agencies will be able to respond to the worsening famine in southern Somalia. Meanwhile, the UN children’s agency — one of the few groups that does operate in the area — said Friday that nearly 800,000 children are at risk of dying without urgent assistance.” Read more.
Flashback: Somali aid going to militants, UN staff: report – “The United Nations World Food Program said it is conducting an internal review following a report that as much as half of the food aid it distributes in Somalia ends up in the hands of corrupt contractors, radical Islamic militants and local UN staffers… The report, written by a panel of experts monitoring UN sanctions against the East African nation and obtained by CBC News, describes what it calls ‘large-scale, egregious and systematic obstruction of humanitarian assistance.’” Read more.
Some news reports are talking about the possibility that this was the work of Islamists.
Update 1: NRK has reported that an Islamist group calling itself ‘Helpers of the Global Jihad’ have now posted a message stating that this is only the beginning of the reaction to Norwegian papers publishing cartoons of Mohammed …
Update 2: Islamist group ‘Helpers of the Global Jihad’ are now denying any involvement in today’s attack. So far there does not appear to be any solid Islamist connection. Suspect may have acted alone. No word yet on motive or how he could have single-handedly produced such a powerful explosion if this was all perpetrated by a single homegrown terrorist.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office, killing at least one person and injuring several others.
Norwegian broadcaster NRK said one person was confirmed dead in the explosion.
The cause of the blast was unknown but the tangled wreckage of a car was outside one building and the damage appeared consistent to witnesses with that from car bombs. Police and fire officials declined comment on the cause.
The blast blew out most windows on the 17-story building housing Stoltenberg’s office, as well as nearby ministries including the oil ministry, which was on fire.
Heavy debris littered the streets and a tall plume of brown smoke over the city center.
A Reuters correspondent counted at least eight injured people. Norwegian news agency NTB said that Stoltenberg was safe in the blast, which happened around 3:30 p.m. (1330 GMT).” Read more.