On July 22, 2011, lone gunman Anders Behring Breivik emerged from a western Norwegian suburb to commit one of the worst terrorist atrocities in Europe since World War II.
The massacre started with an explosion in Oslo and finished with the slaughter of dozens of teenagers at a youth camp on the isolated island of Utoya. The final death toll was 77.
There were 68 people shot dead in Utoya and eight killed in the blast in Oslo.
Just after 3.20pm in downtown Oslo a huge explosion rocked government buildings and the offices of Norway’s biggest tabloid newspaper, VG.
Hundreds were feared dead in the blast and dozens of injured people lined the streets covered in blood, as thick black smoke billowed overhead.
There were reports of workers trapped inside buildings.
The Norwegian prime minister Jens Stoltenberg was moved to a secret location and told the nation that the situation was “very serious”.
Seven people were later confirmed to have died in the explosion.
The tangled wreckage of a vehicle outside one of the government buildings indicated that it may have been a car bomb – the suspicion was confirmed by Norwegian police nearly two hours later. Early suggestions that it could have been a gas explosion were dismissed after it emerged that there was no gas network in central Oslo.
Extremist group Ansar al-Jihad al-Alami (Helpers of Global Jihad) was quick to claim responsibility for the bombing, calling it “revenge” for Norway’s occupation of Afghanistan and insults to the Prophet Mohammed.
This was a far cry from the actual perpetrator, named as Norwegian national Anders Behring Breivik who later claimed in a 1518-page manifesto that he had carried out the twin attacks as part of a crusade against multiculturalism and Islam.
As Norwegians feared secondary blasts in the aftermath of the Oslo bombing, teenagers at a Labour Party youth camp were being indiscriminately gunned down on the isolated island of Utoya, a short car ride from the Norwegian capital.
Dressed as a policeman, Breivik beckoned teenagers towards him with cries of “you’re safe” before mowing them down in a shower of bullets. To others he laughed as he said “you all must die”.
In his killing manifesto, which he says took him three years to write, Breivik said he would be listening to the song Lux Aeterna by Clint Mansell on his iPod while carrying out the killing spree. He said the song would help him suppress his fear.
Teenagers who survived the initial attack threw themselves into the sub-zero waters of the lake in an attempt to flee. Others hid under corpses and barricaded themselves inside their rooms. One 15-year-old girl managed to survive by crouching under the same rock the killer was standing on. Others played dead. A local man used his boat to save teenagers from the lake but had to decide who to save and who to leave as there were just too many people swimming in the water.
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