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Oslo blasts rock office of Norway PM; 7 dead

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Oslo blasts rock office of Norway PM; 7 dead

Eyes turn to Islamists, right-wing extremists

  • A bomb blast reportedly tore through the office of Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and the Norwegian parliament Friday. At least seven people were killed.
    RussiaToday screengrabA bomb blast reportedly tore through the office of Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and the Norwegian parliament Friday. At least seven people were killed.

Suspicion is likely to fall on Islamists and right-wing extremists following a deadly bombing and a shooting at a political gathering in Norway on Friday, according to security experts.

Police now say seven people were killed and two badly wounded when a powerful bomb exploded in Oslo, Reuters reports. The ABC was reporting two explosions, with at least one resulting from a "massive vehicle bomb," according to U.S. government sources on the scene.

Earlier, it was reported that an undetermined number of blasts had rocked the Norwegian capital, damaging the offices of the Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg and the parliament. Stoltenberg was working at home Friday and was unharmed, the AP reports.

Shortly after the explosions, a man dressed as a police officer reportedly opened fire on a summer camp for youth members of the ruling Labor Party on the island of Utoya, about 25 miles from the city, wounding at least five, a Norwegian security official told the New York Times.

The daily newspaper VG reported on its website that a man dressed as a policeman was shooting wildly and had hit many people, while TV2 said several people were killed.

Oslo Mayor Fabian Stang said it was a "terrible day" for Norwegians, CNN reports.

In Oslo, several buildings were reportedly badly damaged, and many of the windows of the 17-story government tower that houses the prime minister's offices blown out. A reporter from the Norwegian broadcaster NRK told CNN that people were in the street bleeding. Emergency ferried rushed the injured to hospitals unaccustomed to such injuries on a large scale.

The death toll was expected to rise, the AP reports, quoting police spokesman Thor Langli as saying that there were dead people left in the buildings.

Photos and television footage showed a scene of devastation, with entire building facades destroyed and the surrounding street strewn with glass and debris.

All roads into the city center were closed immediately after the explosions, NRK reported, and security officials had evacuated people from the area, fearing another blast, according to the BBC.

Nick Soubiea, an American-Swedish tourist in Oslo, said he was less than 100 yards from the blast, which he described as deafening.

"It was almost in slow motion, like a big wave that almost knocked us off our chairs," he told CNN. "It was extremely frightening."

He said the streets were crowded with people trying to get away from the center of the city. "There are people running down the streets, people crying, everyone's on their cell phones calling home," he said.

Speculation turned to the possibility of terrorism. Norway, a NATO member, has been the target of threats before, notably over its involvement in conflicts in Afghanistan and Libya.

According to Reuters:

Bombings in city centers and marauding guns attacks are both tactics that have been used by Islamist militant gangs in recent years, mostly notably by al Qaeda-aligned guerrilla groups in Asia.

The mangled wreckage of a car was seen near one of the buildings, BBC reports. 

But Exclusive Analysis told Reuters that "there were no known domestic militant groups in Norway with the capability to stage large car bomb attacks."

This article originally appeared on GlobalPost.

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