Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 December 2014

'Fatalities' in Oslo bomb blast

A woman walks through debris after the explosion in Oslo (Scanpix)
A woman walks through debris after the explosion in Oslo (Scanpix)
Devastation caused after a powerful blast tore open several buildings (Holm Morten)
An aerial view of Utoya Island, where a Labour Party youth camp was attacked by a gunman (AP)

At least two people have been killed and several more injured after a bomb blast at government headquarters in Oslo city centre.

The buildings include the office of Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who is safe, government spokeswoman Camilla Ryste told The Associated Press.

Witness Ole Tommy Pedersen was standing at a bus stop about 100 yards from the building at around 3.30pm (1430BST) when he saw the blast shatter almost all windows of the 20-floor building. He said a cloud of smoke is billowing from the bottom floors.

"I saw three or four injured people being carried out of the building a few minutes later," Mr Pedersen told The Associated Press.

Nearby offices were evacuated including those housing some of Norway's leading newspapers and news agency NTB.

An AP reporter at the scene saw one person with a bleeding leg being led away from the area.

Video shown by Norwegian broadcaster NRK showed most of the windows of the building had been blown out.

The bottom floor appeared to be completely gutted. Shattered glass and debris littered a square in front of the building.

Nearby offices were evacuated including those housing some of Norway's leading newspapers and news agency NTB. Some of them were also damaged.

The government building houses the prime minister's office and his administration. Several ministries are in surrounding buildings.

The blast comes as the Scandinavian country has grappled with a series of homegrown terror plots linked to al Qaida, and six years after an uproar over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in neighbouring Denmark.

Last week, a Norwegian prosecutor filed terror charges against an Iraqi-born cleric for threatening Norwegian politicians with death if he's deported from the Nordic country.

The indictment centred on statements that Mullah Krekar - the founder of the Kurdish Islamist group Ansar al-Islam - made to various media, including American network NBC.

Danish authorities say they have foiled several terror plots linked to the 2005 newspaper cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad that triggered protests in Muslim countries.

Last month, a Danish appeals court on Wednesday sentenced a Somali man to 10 years in prison for breaking into the home of a cartoonist who caricatured the Prophet Muhammad.

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