Norway commission to investigate Breivik attacks

CCTV footage inside an Oslo shop caught the moment the bomb exploded

Norwegian PM Jens Stoltenberg has announced the creation of a "22 July Commission" to investigate Friday's bomb and gun attacks.

He said the commission, agreed to by all political parties, would analyse everything that happened.

The speed of the police response to Anders Behring Breivik's second attack, on Utoeya island, has been questioned.

The shootings, and a bomb attack on government buildings in the capital, Oslo, left at least 76 people dead.

Mr Breivik, a far-right extremist, admits carrying out the attacks.

On Wednesday police released the names of 13 more victims who died in the attacks.

Ten were teenagers and the youngest was 14-year-old Sharidyn Svebakk-Bohn - all were killed on Utoeya. The first four names were released on Tuesday.

Compensation

Speaking at a news conference at his residence, Mr Stoltenberg said the commission would be independent and would enable lessons to be learned.

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"This is not a critical inquiry, we have a lot of respect for the way that our authorities and our different agencies have handled the operations," he said.

"But we think it's important to go through everything that's happened so that we can learn as much as possible and draw from our experiences."

The BBC's Jon Brain in Oslo says the overall police operation has been criticised, with questions asked about why it took so long and why a helicopter was not available to allow police to get to the island more quickly.

Meanwhile a police union spokesman has announced that 20m Norwegian kroner (2.6m euros; £2.3m) will be released to create 100 new police jobs in areas affected by the attacks.

The prime minister also announced a national memorial, and said the government would contribute to the cost of funerals of the victims.

Relatives and victims would also be entitled to payments from the state under a new law on compensation for victims of crime, he added.

In a statement earlier, Mr Stoltenberg said Norway would not be intimidated or threatened by the attacks and that Norwegians would stand firm in defending their values.

The attacks were directed at Norway's "fundamental values" - democracy and openness - and that the response would be "more democracy, more openness", he said.

Anders Behring Breivik

Anders Behring Breivik leaves court, 25 July
  • Grew up in Oslo, son of a diplomat
  • Obsessed with "Islamisation of western Europe"
  • Likened himself to a Crusader knight
  • Wrote a manifesto detailing his attack plans

He said he expected people to participate more broadly in politics.

Meanwhile, the leader of the police squad who apprehended Mr Breivik on the island has been describing the events.

Haarvard Gaasbakk said it was a "completely normal arrest", and suggested the gunman had surrendered readily.

Police had yelled to the gunman to surrender and, in limited visibility, he suddenly appeared before them with his hands in the air and his weapon 15m away on the ground, Mr Gaasbakk added.

Terrorism charges

Some government employees have begun returning to work, five days after Mr Breivik's powerful home-made bomb ripped through the prime minister's and other buildings in central Oslo.

For the moment, Mr Stoltenberg himself is expected to work from the defence ministry in another part of the city.

It is not clear whether the prime minister's building will be restored or pulled down.

Haavard Gaasbakk: "Suddenly in front of us there was the gunman with his hands above his head"

The authorities have said they believe Mr Breivik acted alone.

Norwegian domestic intelligence chief Janne Kristiansen said no evidence had so far been found linking Anders Behring Breivik with far-right extremists in Norway or elsewhere.

But she added that the possible existence of accomplices was still being investigated.

Police chief Sveinung Sponheim says names of victims will continue to be released at 1800 local time (1600 GMT) each day until all have been identified and all relatives informed.

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

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