News / Europe

Norway PM Leads Memorial Service for Victims of Attacks

Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg addresses mourners during the memorial service at Oslo Cathedral, Sunday, July 24, 2011
Norway's Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg addresses mourners during the memorial service at Oslo Cathedral, Sunday, July 24, 2011

Norway's prime minister has led a memorial service in Oslo for 93 people killed Friday by a Norwegian man who had posted anti-liberal and anti-Muslim rants on the Internet.

Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg addressed hundreds of mourners gathered at Oslo Cathedral Sunday, telling them that Norway has suffered a "national tragedy" in which the victims were known to many people, including himself. Norwegian King Harald and Queen Sonja also attended the memorial to the victims of Norway's deadliest violence since World War II.

Outside the cathedral, tearful Norwegians laid flowers and candles in tribute to those killed in a mass shooting on the southern island of Utoeya and an earlier car bombing in Oslo's government district. Norway's NRK television said a person wounded in the shooting died Sunday, raising the death toll on Utoeya to 86. The car bomb killed seven people.

More than 90 people were wounded in both attacks, and several others are still missing.

The 32-year-old suspected shooter and bomber, Anders Behring Breivik, surrendered shortly after police reached Utoeya. He later confessed to both attacks, but his lawyer says the suspect denies committing any crime.  

Breivik is suspected of setting off the fertilizer bomb that heavily damaged the prime minister's office building, before traveling to Utoeya an hour later and firing at participants in a youth camp organized by the ruling Labor Party. Police say Breivik claims to have acted alone, despite some witnesses on the island saying there was a second gunman.

Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad says Breivik believes his actions were "atrocious" but necessary to bring about a "revolution" in Norwegian society. Lippestad says the suspect wants to explain his motives in court, where he is due to appear Monday to face terrorism charges.

Breivik published a 1,500-page manifesto on the Internet just before the first attack. In it, he rants against what he calls the Islamisation of Europe through Muslim immigration. He also vows to take revenge against European liberal elites whom he accuses of betraying their Christian heritage by promoting multiculturalism.

In another part of the manifesto, Breivik describes his plans to acquire firearms and explosives in apparent preparation for Friday's attacks.

Pope Benedict said Sunday he feels "deep sorrow" about the terrorist attacks in Norway. Speaking to pilgrims from his summer residence outside Rome, he called on all people to "abandon the path of hatred and to escape from the logic of evil."

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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