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» »Unlabelled » Oslo explosion kills at least 2

The downtown Oslo explosion, believed to have been caused by a bomb, also injures several and causes widespread damage. The blast was near Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's office, but he is safe.

Oslo explosion

Injured people lay on the ground Friday at the site of an explosion near government buildings in Norway's capital of Oslo. At least two people were killed in the blast. (Holm Morten/AFP/Getty Images / July 22, 2011)

A massive explosion rocked downtown Oslo on Friday, killing at least two people, injuring several others and causing widespread damage in Norway's government center, news reports said.

The Norwegian public broadcaster NRK reported that police believe the blast was due to a bomb. News agencies said the twisted, charred wreckage of a car could be seen close to the blast site.

The explosion occurred near Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg's office, but Norwegian media said Stoltenberg was safe.

Video footage showed streets littered with shattered glass, documents and other debris as terrified people fled the scene to safety, heading away from Oslo's normally bustling downtown.

Nearly all the windows of one multistory building appeared to have been blown out. Another building was on fire. A huge plume of smoke rose into the sky.

Residents were stunned by the blast and the possibility that their placid country had become the victim of a large terrorist attack.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast, but Norway has been singled out as a target by Al Qaeda.

Almost exactly a year ago, three foreign-born Norwegian residents suspected of being affiliated with Al Qaeda were arrested on suspicion of plotting an attack.

Last week, Mullah Krekar, an Iraqi-born cleric who lives in Norway, was charged with terrorism after allegedly threatening politicians with death if Norwegian authorities deport him. Krekar is the founder of the militant Kurdish Islamist group Ansar Al Islam.

In 2003, an audiotape by Ayman Zawahiri, who succeeded Osama bin Laden as leader of Al Qaeda after his death in May, urged militants to attack the U.S., Britain, Australia and Norway.


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