‘You must all die’: survivors tell of gunman’s shouts during killing spree
Following one of the worst atrocities in recent history, police were last night questioning 32-year-old Anders Behring Breivik, said to be a far-right sympathiser who is believed to have been angered by the Norwegian government’s immigration policies.
The killings took place on the idyllic Norwegian island of Utoeya, where youth members of the ruling Labour party were gathered for a summer camp, just hours after Breivik is believed to have detonated a huge car bomb which killed seven people in the centre of Oslo.
Unusually for a case of mass killings, the gunman did not shoot himself but meekly surrendered to police. According to the acting police chief Roger Andresen, Breivik was keen to speak about why he carried out the attacks. “He is clear on the point that he wants to explain himself,” Andresen said.
Witnesses spoke last night of a terrifying ordeal on the island which began when a gunman, dressed as a policeman, tricked the group into thinking he had come to keep them safe as news arrived of the bomb which had struck Oslo earlier.
One witness said he told them: “It’s OK, you’re safe, we’re coming to help.” The witness said that as 20 people did so, the man pulled out an automatic weapon and “shot them at close range.”
As panic ensued, many youngsters say they fled into the woods on the island, or into the main building at the camp, while others plunged into the water in the hope of swimming away. At one stage he screamed: “You must all die” as he mercilessly gunned down teenagers trying to escape.
Witnesses say the gunman then casually wandered along the shore picking off those who were in the water. There were fears last night that the death toll may rise as some of those who died may have drowned.
It is thought the massacre carried on for at least an hour and a half before a SWAT team arrived from Oslo to confront him. As the full scale of the massacre emerged yesterday, a picture of Breivik was emerging, showing a man who was enraged with the country’s immigration policies and held links with extremist groups across Europe.
Norwegian officials said his profile suggested the atrocity was similar to the Oklahoma bombing in the United States, when another extremist loner, Timothy McVey, blew up a government building.
During the afternoon, Oslo police confirmed that Breivik had bought six tonnes of artificial fertiliser in May which could have been used to make a bomb. They confirmed he had also been charged with planting the Oslo bomb, targeted at government buildings, which killed a further seven people.
Stunned Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, who was intending to speak to the young people at the camp today, said: “This is beyond comprehension. It’s a nightmare, It’s a nightmare for those who have been killed, for their mothers and fathers, family and friends.”
King Harald of Norway said: “We are being tested. We are standing firm by our values. Freedom is more powerful than fear. We keep our belief in a free and democratic country.”
Officials warned last night that the death toll may still rise to as high as 98. There were warnings that the Oslo bomb may have caused more deaths, as police chiefs said they had discovered more body parts near where the explosion had taken place.
Many parents, who were drawn from all over Norway, spent yesterday dashing to the scenic island near Oslo, desperately trying to contact their children.
Last night, the grim task of collecting the victims continued, as the dead on the island were placed in body bags.
Police began the task of investigating Breivik’s flat in Oslo on Friday night, where he is thought to live alone. It also emerged that he owned a farm and had amassed the fertiliser there in the weeks before the attacks.
The manufacturer of the fertiliser yesterday alerted police to the purchase after Breivik’s name was released.
Another official said the attack was “probably more Norway’s Oklahoma City than it is Norway’s World Trade Centre”.
However, while the attack was not thought to be the work of an organisation, police chiefs said last night that they “thought there might be more” people behind the attack. Police were looking through Breivik’s computer records to see whether he may have been part of a larger network.
They said there was still evidence of explosive material in the centre of Oslo, which remained closed off yesterday.
Norway’s royal family and political leaders led mourning last night, with both comforting families at a hotel near the island where survivors were gathering. On the claims that Breivik was motivated by far-right extremist groups, foreign minister Jonas Gahr Stoere urged caution. However, on the subject of politically motivated violence, he said: “This is a phenomenon that we have to address very seriously.”
Stoltenberg vowed that the attack would not change Norway’s values. “This is a society where young people can have controversial opinions without being afraid.”
He said he had spent every summer on the island of Utoeya since 1974. “My children’s paradise was yesterday transformed into hell,” he said.
Across the world, there was universal condemnation of the attacks. The Queen wrote to Norway’s King Harald to express her shock and sadness at the attacks.
US President Barack Obama said: “It’s a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring.”