Norway Death Toll Jumps Higher
GUY RAZ, host: We're back with ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Guy Raz.
Norwegians are still coming to grips with yesterday's devastating terror attacks. Thirty-two-year-old Anders Behring Breivik is being held on suspicion of bombing a government building in Oslo and later, gunning down dozens of people at an island retreat for young members of the ruling Labor Party.
At this hour, at least 92 bodies have been recovered from both the bombsite and the island, some 19 miles from the capital, Oslo. Little is known about the suspect, but he has been tied to far-right, anti-immigrant political groups in Norway. From Oslo, the BBC's Richard Galpin has this report.
RICHARD GALPIN: What's happened yesterday on the island of Utoeya was the worst spate of killings Norway has suffered since the Second World War. And still, not everyone's been accounted for. It's estimated there were around 600 taking part in the summer camp of the Labor Party's youth wing.
Today, extraordinary stories have emerged from survivors, describing their ordeal on the island as the man they thought was a policeman went on his long killing spree. Many survivors have talked about the long waits for the police to rescue them. It's reported the police drove all the way from Oslo. They then have needed a boat to reach the island.
RAZ: That's the BBC's Richard Galpin, reporting from Oslo. Anders Giaever is a columnist for VG newspaper in Norway. And he's with me now, from Oslo. Anders, first of all, of course, my condolences to you for what is clearly a national tragedy of unimaginable proportion.
ANDERS GIAEVER: Thank you. Thank you so much. Yeah. It's probably the worst since Norway was attacked by Nazi Germany in April of 1940.
RAZ: I understand that you were actually on the seventh floor of your office building in Oslo yesterday when the explosion went off, shattered the window in your office. What happened at that moment?
GIAEVER: I think we actually heard the shattering of the glass before we heard the explosion because they all shouted around us. We are in this big steel and glass structure, and they started falling 10 floors down. And then we heard a big explosion. I knew immediately that this was a bomb, but I thought it was a bomb inside our building. And when we came down to street level, we saw that it had happened one block away.
RAZ: The assailant or the possible assailants - we don't know yet, of course - clearly targeted the Norwegian government, possibly the center-left Labor Party that now leads it. Can you describe for us the political background here? The main suspect is a man named Anders Behring Breivik. What could have possibly motivated him to do what he did - if, indeed, he was the person behind this?
GIAEVER: We don't know much about that. He was very active in this web newspaper a little more than a half-year ago. He was then expressing opinions that maybe 10 to 15 percent of Norwegian people do harbor, in these days, about immigration, about the government letting immigrants and Islam take over our society, that they would outbreed us within a generation. And like you have the Tea Party in the U.S., you have these opinions in Norway. But they are never violent, not against the government and not against the immigrants.
RAZ: How is the country absorbing this story? I mean, this happened now, obviously, more than 24 hours ago. You - I'm assuming - went home last night and went to sleep, and maybe talked to your friends and family.
GIAEVER: Well, I didn't sleep much. My 16-year-old son had six friends on Utoeya, and one of them was shot yesterday. We were waiting for news about him. But luckily, his life is not in danger anymore, so I guess we didn't sleep much in Norway last night at all. We were all sitting up, listening to the news.
RAZ: Is it still too early to say how Norwegians are absorbing this story? I mean, are they still in shock?
GIAEVER: I think it's a bit early. But what I'm hoping for - and if I do know my fellow countrymen, I think it's going to unite us. You know, the extreme right wing has never had a political grip on Norway. The only terror acts we've had on Norwegian soil have been neo-Nazis, and it's always mobilized lots of people against them. So I think this is going to unite us. It's hopefully going to unite us more with the immigrant population, and it's probably going to make us stronger and freer than we were before.
RAZ: That's Anders Giaever. He's a columnist for the VG newspaper in Norway, and he spoke to me from Oslo. Anders, thank you very much.
Thank you so much.
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