Europe

Norway attacks: Police publish names of terror victims

  • 26 July 2011
  • From the section Europe
Gunnar Linaker, Oslo bomb victim identified by police
Gunnar Linaker was among the four victims first identified by police

Norway's police have published the names of four of the 76 victims of Friday's mass killings in Norway carried out by Anders Behring Breivik.

They include three people killed in the Oslo car bomb and a 23-year-old man who died on a nearby island where Mr Breivik went on a shooting spree.

Meanwhile, the police have defended their handling of the attacks.

It was an hour-and-a-half before an armed unit reached Utoeya island after the shooting began.

"I don't think we think we could have done this faster," Police Chief of Staff Johan Fredriksen told journalists in Oslo.

The bomb in Oslo targeted buildings connected to Norway's Labour government, and the youth camp on Utoeya island was run by the party.

The names of the four victims - Gunnar Linaker, 23; Tove Ashill Knutsen, 56; Hanna M Orvik Endresen, 61; and Kai Hauge, 32 - and where they lived were published on the Norwegian police's website.

Gunnar Linaker's father, from Bardu in northern Norway, told the Associated Press news agency that he had been on the phone to his son when the shooting started.

"He said to me: 'Dad, dad, someone is shooting,' and then he hung up," Roald Linaker said.

Besides the names listed by police, it is known that Crown Princess Mette-Marit's stepbrother, Trond Berntsen, an off-duty police officer, was among those killed at the youth camp.

Twenty-one-year-old Tore Eikeland was also named by Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg at a memorial service on Sunday as one of those who died on Utoeya island.

"He was one of our most talented young politicians," he said.

Police chief Sveinung Sponheim said names would continue to be released at 18:00 local time (16:00 GMT) each day until all the victims had been identified and all relatives informed.

'Fantastic' police work

At the same press conference, his colleague Mr Fredriksen dismissed criticism that staff manning the police department's one helicopter were on holiday on the day of the twin attacks.

Mr Fredriksen said the helicopter was only used for observational purposes and would not have affected the reaction to the shooting.

Earlier Norwegian Justice Minister Knut Storberget praised the "fantastic" work done by police.

In Washington, US President Barack Obama made an unannounced visit to the Norwegian ambassador's residence to pay his condolences over the killings.

"To the people of Norway - we are heartbroken by the tragic loss of so many people, particularly youth with the fullness of life ahead of them," he wrote in a condolences book.

Mr Breivik, a right-wing Christian extremist, is facing terrorism charges and police are considering also charging him with crimes against humanity, which carry a possible 30-year sentence, a prosecutor has said.

He appeared in court on Monday to face charges of destabilising vital functions of society, including government, and causing serious fear in the population.

He accepted responsibility for the attacks but denied the terrorism charges.

Earlier Prosecutor Christian Hatlo said Mr Breivik claimed he had worked in a cell, and that there were two other cells working with him.

Although police sources say other groups are unlikely, Mr Hatlo said he "cannot completely, and I stress completely, rule out that others were involved in what happened".

He said his client's operation had not been aimed at killing as many people as possible but that he wanted to create the greatest loss possible to Norway's governing Labour Party, which he accused of failing the country on immigration.

Mr Breivik has been remanded in custody for eight weeks, the first four in full isolation and on suicide watch.

His lawyer has said he believes Mr Breivik is insane but says it is too early to decide on a defence.

On Monday up to 250,000 people poured on to the streets of the capital, many of them holding flowers in memory of the eight people killed in the Oslo blast and the 68 who died at the youth camp on Utoeya.

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