The Friday mid-afternoon peace in Oslo was shattered when an explosion ripped through the heart of the capital of Norway.
Without warning the blast, confirmed by police as a bomb, rebounded through government buildings shattering windows 20 stories up.
The prime ministers office, the ministry for oil and several other government buildings all felt the force of the explosion. The oil ministry was on fire.
One eye witness summed it up by saying the scene resembled a war zone.
Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg spoke to say he was safe and was not in his office when the attack happened. All his cabinet members are safe he confirmed. Police closed the city centre while fears persisted further explosions could follow.
Many had already left the city centre for the weekend, offices too were not as busy as usual as people had gone on holiday. The devastation could have been much worse said a government official.
Fear, panic and the question, “why” hung in the city air. Norway is not known for its violence and Oslo acclaimed throughout the world as the city which hosts the Nobel Peace prize. Now terror was at their door.
The injured, many cut open by the flying glass, were treated on the pavements and in the street. Rescue services had to search the buildings, many of which were in a precarious state for survivors. The city was evacuated, the centre closed and people advised in stay indoors. Norwegians were stunned, the pictures beamed across Europe and beyond.
As speculation and rumour turned to facts, news of a second attack stunned those waiting and watching. A gun attack on a group of teenagers. It happened on the island of Utoeya about an hour’s drive from Oslo. A holiday island which was hosting the annual youth camp of Labour supporters.
A sense of panic gripped the island after a lone gunman dressed in a blue shirt and wearing a police badge opened fire at random. Teenagers hid in the trees fearful for their lives, others dived into the sea swimming they hoped to safety. Around 500 young people were on the island, their focus to engage in political debate. Now they were fearful for their lives. Police sent in a terrorist response team and one man was arrested.
Labour Prime Minister, Jens Stoltenberg had been due to appear on the island to talk to his young supporters at one stage. His focus has been dramatically shifted. Norway is in shock as the country tries to come to terms with the attacks.