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Police urge Norwegians to leave Oslo -

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Police urge Norwegians to leave Oslo

Rachael Brown reported this story on Saturday, July 23, 2011 08:03:00

ELIZABETH JACKSON: Our Europe correspondent Rachael Brown has prepared this report.

(Sound of sirens)

RACHAEL BROWN: The bomb exploded on a quiet Friday afternoon, on a public holiday, in the centre of
the capital.

WITNESS: You could really feel it inside your body and I thought that my lungs hurt and my hearts

WITNESS 2: It was like, sort of heavy thunder. I thought it was thunder at first but yeah it was
loud, glass everywhere and the building on fire.

RACHAEL BROWN: The building at the centre of the blast, is the office of the prime minister, Jens
Stoltenberg, but he has not been hurt. The building is also home to the country's largest tabloid
newspaper, VG.

Nearby, the oil ministry was on fire. Initially a gas leak was suspected, but police have confirmed
the explosion was caused by a massive car bomb, potentially using fertiliser nitrate.

Television images show a blackened car lying on its side amid the debris of metal, masonry and
glass from the shattered windows of the high-rise offices.

An eyewitness, Sylvio, describes the scene.

SYLVIO: I saw for myself people unconscious being brought out onto the street and other people who
were lying unconscious on the floor. If they were dead or alive I wouldn't be able to tell you.
They were receiving assistance but ambulances and police arrived quite shortly after the incident
and security guards have already started to take guard in front of shops where the blast has blow
the glass out.

RACHAEL BROWN: Police rushed in, evacuating nearby offices, and closing all roads into the city

Ingunn Andersen from Norwegian Television says the attack has terrified the public.

INGUNN ANDERSEN: People here are really, don't think it can happen here, if you know what I mean,
Oslo. It happened in Sweden not long ago, they had a bomb over there and I think people here in
general feel safe, like Norway is a little corner of the world and obviously terrorism is nothing
that's going to happen on our soil.

RACHAEL BROWN: As police worked to free those trapped in the building, came the news of a mass
shooting on the nearby island of Utoya. A man dressed a policeman is reported to have unleashed
machine gun fire on those attending the governing Labour Party's youth camp.

Ole Torp is a correspondent with the Norwegian broadcasting corporation, NRK.

OLE TORP: Lots of these young people are twittering about the situation and they are saying that
some of them are swimming away from this inland island in panic and hiding in bushes where this
person is shooting, or rather has been shooting and of course all traffic has stopped, it's
impossible to get there. The police have been using a helicopter to get there. This is an island
about an hour's drive away from Oslo.

RACHAEL BROWN: Eyewitnesses say they've seen at least 20 bodies lying on the ground.

For a while it was thought the timing may have just been a coincidence, then emerged the news the
prime minister was scheduled to be speaking at the youth camp.

A man has been arrested. Eyewitnesses say he is blonde and speaks Norwegian. Anti-terrorism police
have been sent to the island to start their investigation.

This is Rachael Brown in London, reporting for Saturday AM.