Norway’s PM Leads Memorial Service to 93 People Killed in Attacks

Posted July 24th, 2011 at 9:45 am (UTC-5)
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Norway's prime minister has led a memorial service in Oslo for the 93 people so far confirmed killed in a Friday shooting and car bomb attack that stunned the normally-peaceful nation.

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 service.

Outside, tearful Norwegians laid flowers and candles in tribute to those killed in the mass shooting on the southern island of Utoeya and the 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.

A 32-year old Norwegian man detained on the island after the shooting has confessed to both attacks, but he has also reportedly told police he denies committing any crime.

Anders Behring Breivik is suspected of setting off a fertilizer bomb that damaged the prime minister's office and other government buildings, and later traveling to Utoeya to shoot 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. Norwegian security forces raided a small house in Oslo Sunday, in an apparent search for clues to the attacks.

Breivik's lawyer says the suspect believes his actions were “atrocious” but necessary and wants to explain them in court, where he is due to appear on Monday to face terrorism charges.

Defense lawyer Geir Lippestad says Breivik published a 1,500-page manifesto on the Internet before the attack.

Police describe Breivik as a “fundamentalist Christian” with political views that leaned to the right. They say his writings included anti-Muslim rhetoric and arguments against multiculturalism in Norway.