Explosion at Norway Government Office: Two Dead

| by Kate Wharmby Seldman

(Update: As of Saturday, police in Norway say seven people were killed in the explosion.)

A deadly bomb ripped through Norway's main government building in Oslo, Norwegian news agency NTB is reporting. At least two people were killed in the blast.

The explosion occurred at 6:30 a.m. PDT, 3:30 p.m. local Norway time. A Reuters reporter said he saw eight people injured and one possibly dead; rubble was strewn across the streets, and the whole city center felt the blast. The 17-story building's windows shattered, and a large cloud of smoke rose into the air. The explosion set the nearby oil ministry building on fire. There was a mangled car outside the building, which may suggest this was a car bomb.

Reuters quoted a bystander as saying she witnessed people running away, and saw at least 10 people who'd been injured by the blast. Oslo University Hospital was reporting that it was treating seven injured people, but couldn't confirm how serious their injuries were. 

Not many people were in the streets: most citizens of Oslo seemed to have stopped work early or headed off on weekend breaks.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack but NTB reported that Norway has received threats before, concerning its involvement in the Afghanistan and Libya conflicts. Meanwhile, French news agency AFP says Norwegian police are telling Oslo residents to stay at home and visitors to stay in their hotels tonight.

EU president Herman Van Rompuy describes the bomb as an act of "cowardice".

"I am deeply shocked by the bomb blasts this afternoon in Oslo which have killed a number of innocent people and left many others injured," Van Rompuy says in a statement. "I condemn in the strongest terms these acts of cowardice for which there is no justification."