Seven confirmed dead, more than 19 injured in Oslo explosion

Seven confirmed dead, more than 19 injured in Oslo explosion
# 22 July 2011 20:33 (UTC +04:00)
According to hospotal sources, the Oslo University Hospital has received 10 injured, nine of whom are in serious condition, the Ullevaal Hospital has received nine injured, and the Baerum Hospital has also received several others.

"It was a bomb," Sveinung Sponheim, acting police chief at Oslo police, told at a news conference.

Shortly before the explosion, a large car was seen driving up to the government building, witnesses told police.

Police said it was possible that a vehicle may have been used in this blast, but couldn’t confirm it yet.

"Police can confirm there were deaths and injuries following the explosion in the government quarter this afternoon," local police said in a statement.

Witnesses said the blast also led to severe damage to nearby government buildings, including Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s office.

Broken glass panels were scattered on the streets within a radius of 100 meters from the prime minister’s office building. Smoke columns were rising from the buildings after the bomb attack.

In a telephone interview with Norwegian TV2 after the explosion, Stoltenberg said that all the government ministers seemed to be safe.

Stoltenberg said it’s "very serious," but adding it was too early to say if the blast was a terrorist attack.

Oslo police on Friday also confirmed that a shooting incident had happened at Utoeya, an island south of Oslo where the ruling party’s youth camp has been held.

A man who disguised in a police uniform has opened fire at the gathering, killing at least four, local media reported.

However, police say thay can not confirm any casualties at the shooting, adding there could be explosives at the shooting site.

In view of these, Norwegian police has advised residents of Oslo to stay home.

"It is necessary to avoid big gatherings, to go back home," a local police officer said.

Experts were cautious to conclude on the nature of the blast as well as the shooting, and they did not rule out the possibility of terrorist attacks.