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Obama Expresses Condolences to Norway Over Attacks

In this video image taken from television, smoke is seen billowing from a damaged building as debris is strewn across the street after an explosion in Oslo, Norway, Friday, July 22, 2011

President Barack Obama has expressed his condolences to the Norwegian people over the bomb explosion that devastated a government building in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. Mr. Obama was briefed on the explosion in Oslo, and on reports of shootings at a youth camp outside the Norwegian capital, by his counter-terrorism adviser, John Brennan.

The explosion in Oslo hit the headquarters building that houses the office of Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg. The prime minister was not present at the location, and none of his staff were injured.

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It's not known if the two incidents were related.

Mr. Obama spoke about the incidents in remarks to reporters after his meeting in the Oval Office Friday with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key.

"I wanted to personally extend my condolence to the people of Norway, and it's a reminder that the entire international community has a stake in preventing this kind of terror from occurring, and that we have to work cooperatively together both on intelligence and in terms of prevention of these kinds of horrible attacks," he said.

Mr. Obama said the U.S. will provide any support to Norway as officials there investigate the incidents.

Prime Minister Key also spoke about the situation in Norway.

"If it is an act of global terrorism I think it shows that no country, large or small, is immune from that risk, and that is why New Zealand plays its part in Afghanistan as we try and join others like the United States in making the world a safer place," he said.

The separate incident occurred Friday on an island off Norway's west coast, north of Oslo,
where a gathering of the prime minister's Labor Party youth section was taking place. Initial reports said a man dressed as a policeman opened fire.

Norway has been a participant in the NATO military campaign in Libya against the forces loyal to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, and has had a small contingent of troops in the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

In his remarks, President Obama said he and Prime Minister Key discussed security cooperation and New Zealand's contributions in Afghanistan. The president also praised the resilience of New Zealand's people in the wake of earthquakes that hit the city of Christchurch. Mr. Obama said they also discussed a wide range of regional issues, including those being discussed by ministers at an Asian security meeting on the Indonesian island of Bali.