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Sunday 23 October 2016

Norway marks fifth anniversary of Breivik massacre

Published 22/07/2016 | 08:41

A total of 77 people were killed in the bomb and gun rampage in 2011
A total of 77 people were killed in the bomb and gun rampage in 2011

Norway has paid tribute to the 77 people killed in a bombing and shooting rampage five years ago.

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Prime Minister Erna Solberg described the day of the massacre - July 22 2011 - as "one of the darkest days in Norwegian history" that will always be remembered.

She told a memorial ceremony: "We still see traces of the terrorist acts.

"The missed ones will always be there. Time does not heal all wounds.

"The biggest impact is felt inside us as human beings."

Ms Solberg, Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit laid wreaths at the government quarters in Oslo, where Anders Behring Breivik exploded a car bomb that killed eight people before driving to the island of Utoya where he gunned down 69 people - mostly teenagers - at a youth summer camp.

Later, they attended a memorial service at Oslo Cathedral, which also included victims' families and friends and representatives of a left-wing youth group that hosted the camp on Utoya.

In 2012, Breivik was convicted of mass murder and terrorism and given a 21-year prison sentence that can be extended for as long as he is deemed dangerous to society.

His attacks in the nation of five million traumatised the country, with about one in four people affected through connections with family, friends or acquaintances of the victims.

Nato Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Norway's prime minister at the time of the twin attacks in 2011, said he had painful memories of that day.

"It hurts to hear all the names read out," Mr Stoltenberg said. "But it's also good to be with other people who were affected that day, and we give each other support and comfort."

In the afternoon, a ceremony was to be held on Utoya, a small island situated on a lake surrounded by wooded hills, 25 miles north-west of Oslo.

It reopened to the public a year ago, when 1,000 youth organisation students enrolled for a camp held in memory of the victims.


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