- - Sunday, July 24, 2011

OSLO — Norwegians spent the weekend trying to overcome the shock from the deaths Friday of 93 people in a huge bomb blast in the country’s capital and then a massive shooting spree at an island retreat for young people.

Police arrested a 32-year-old Norwegian man who, in an Internet manifesto, ranted against Muslim immigration in Europe and “indigenous Europeans” whom he accused of “treasonous acts” for violating their heritage.

Norwegian police believe that Anders Behring Breivik may have acted alone in the two attacks Friday afternoon.

Flags flew at half staff, flowers and candles were placed on street corners, and police barricades and military personnel marked the otherwise peaceful city of Oslo, which was irreversibly transformed by the twin attacks.

“We are a people in mourning,” Bishop Ole Christian Kvarme said during an emotion-filled high Mass at Oslo Cathedral on Sunday morning, attended by members of the Norwegian government, the royal family and the general public.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg pushed back tears during his remarks at the Mass, as he released the names of two of the deceased victims from the camp at Utoya whom he knew personally. He said the magnitude of the tragedy was hard to comprehend but that the country must prepare itself for the shock of the names and pictures of the other victims being released in the coming days.

“Then the extent of the evil emerges in all its horror,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “That will be a new test. But we will manage that as well.”

The unprecedented events unfolded late Friday afternoon when a van exploded, killing seven people outside government buildings in downtown Oslo, housing the offices of the prime minister and the ministries of justice, trade and petroleum.

Police believe Mr. Breivik left explosives in a van parked near the government building and detonated the bomb later.

He then drove to the island of Utoya, a remote island 24 miles from Oslo, to embark on a killing rampage for about one hour at the annual summer gathering of some 700 youth members of the Norwegian Labor Party.

Oslo police have confirmed 86 deaths at Utoya and seven from the bomb blast, making the shooting massacre Norway’s worst national tragedy since World War II. Nearly 100 other people were injured in the two attacks, and others were still missing, police said Sunday.

Survivors from Utoya recounted stories on Norwegian television of a man dressed as a police officer who at first offered the campers help in connection with the blast in Oslo.

They said he then cooly opened fire on them. Some scrambled for cover, others played dead or tried, in a desperate attempt to flee the island, swimming to the mainland. Norwegian television helicopter footage has shown a man with a gun pointing at floating corpses in the water around him.

Sveinung Sponheim, Norway’s acting police chief, said Mr. Breivik immediately surrendered when police arrived at Utoya. He still had significant amounts of ammunition. Mr. Breivik has been accused of two counts of terrorism, which carries a penalty of up to 21 years in Norway. He is scheduled to appear in court in Oslo on Monday.

Geir Lippestad, Breivik’s defense attorney, confirmed Saturday evening in a Norwegian television TV2 interview that his client had “acknowledged the factual events, but did not accept punishable responsibility.” He said Mr. Breivik has been planning the events for a while and described his actions July 22 as “gruesome … but, in his head, necessary.”

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