Norway Names Commission to Probe Attacks

Posted August 12th, 2011 at 6:30 pm (UTC-5)
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Norway has appointed nine people to an independent commission that will investigate the terrorist attacks that killed 77 people last month.

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said Friday the commission will try to obtain information about the attacks and evaluate the response to them, with the goal of creating greater safety. A 10th person will be added later to the panel, which is due to submit a report in August of next year. Military and medical experts, as well as academics and police officials, are among those named to the panel.

Anders Behring Breivik, a 32-year-old Norwegian, has confessed to the July 22 attacks that killed eight people in a bomb blast in Oslo and 69 others at a youth camp on Utoeya island. He has pleaded not guilty to terrorism charges. The suspect claimed to be part of a wider “crusade” against Muslim immigration and multiculturalism in Europe. Investigators believe he acted alone after years of careful planning and have found no evidence to support his claims.

Police have been criticized for not arriving sooner on the island after the gunman started shooting. Critics say a faster response might have saved lives. Authorities also have been criticized for failing to improve security on the Oslo street where the explosion took place.

The violence was Norway's deadliest attack since World War Two.

Also Friday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton welcomed her Norwegian counterpart, Jonas Gahr Stoere, to the State Department and extended U.S. sympathies. Secretary Clinton said she admires the resilience of the Norwegian people in the aftermath of the July 22 attacks. Foreign Minister Stoere thanked the United States for its support.