26 Jul 2011

Norway attacks: police release first victims’ names

The police release the names of four of the 76 people killed in the attacks in Norway on Friday. They say they will disclose more names as they identify more victims and inform their families.

Norway attacks: police to release first victims' names

At least 76 people are believed to have died Anders Behring Breivik‘s attacks on Oslo and Utoya island on Friday in Norway. The police have now confirmed the names of the first four victims they have identified.

Gunnar Linak, who was 23 years old, died in the shootings on Utoya. He was from Bardstown.

The three other victims identified today were all killed in the bombing in Oslo. Their names are Tove Ashill Knutsen, 56; Hanna M. Orvik Endresen, 61; and Kai Hauge, 32. All of them are from Oslo.

In a statement, the police said they were working continuously to identify more victims, adding: “Many people lost their lives and families across the country have lost loved ones.”

The police will continue to release names at the same time over the next few days and weeks – 5pm UK time, 6pm Norway time. However, police also said that it could take up to two weeks for them to recover some of the body parts of those who may have been killed or injured in the Oslo bombing attacks. Police are also still searching Utoya and the water for more of those who are missing.

In an earlier press conference, the police also said Breivik was on suicide watch in custody.

Earlier today, Breivik’s lawyer said he believed his client was insane. Geir Lippestad said Breivik believed he was a “warrior” and confirmed that the gunman took drugs before launching Friday’s attacks.

‘We are a small country’

The police also defended their response to Friday’s attacks. In particular, foreign journalists quizzed them over why they did not use helicopters to get to Utoya island more quickly. It took police more than an hour to reach the island after the incident was first reported.

Chief of Police Johan Fredrikson said: “You are in a small country now. The Oslo police have one helicopter and it’s only an observational platform, it’s not a tactical chopper for this use.”

We always try to be better but I don’t see how we could have done this faster. Chief of Police Johan Fredrikson

He also confirmed that the helicopter’s crew were away on holiday on Friday, but said they would respond in the same way – using cars and boats to reach the island – if the same situation happened again. However, if there were incidents further afield, the military would be asked to help, he said.

“It’s not a matter of saving lives concerning the helicopter,” he insisted, saying that Breivik was arrested two minutes after police arrived on Utoya.

He added: “We always try to be better but I don’t see how we could have done this faster.”

The police also tackled the issue of whether there are other cells working with Breivik. The gunman has referred to two other cells in Norway and others elsewhere who share his beliefs.

An officer told reporters: “He has told us the two other cells and it’s in his manifesto also. Of course we wanted then to know where are they and who are they, and he had some terms to say that and we didn’t want to accept those terms.

“They were completely impossible to fulfil but it’s a part of our investigation.”

Chief of Police Fredrikson added: “So far, everything seems to be that he is acting alone.”