Hours after a massive bomb struck the heart of Oslo, reports began emerging of fresh horror: the indiscriminate shooting of young people attending a youth camp of the ruling Labour Party on an island west of the capital.A gunman wearing police uniform opened fire on campers on the tiny island of Utoeya, sowing panic among them, before finally being arrested.
TV aerial images showed police commandos arriving in boats as survivors tried to swim to shore.
Others tried to hide in undergrowth, appealing for help through text messages (SMS) from mobile phones, because they feared that calls would give them away.
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End Quote Text message received by a father from his daughter on the islandThere is gunfire, I am hiding”
Anita Bakaas, mother of a teenage girl who survived the island ordeal unharmed, told BBC World TV that some 600 people had been camping in tents in woods.Her daughter, she said, had hidden in a toilet with four other girls for an hour, keeping in contact by text message.
The girl told her mother the shooting had begun after campers were called to a meeting to hear about the bombing in Oslo, which had occurred several hours earlier.
As she hid, people outside the toilet door were being shot and killed, her mother said.
'Complete panic'A witness quoted by Norwegian broadcaster NRK said a man in police uniform had called over young people, telling them "Come here", before shooting them.
The father of a girl attending the summer camp said he had received an SMS that said: "There is gunfire, I am hiding."
"We communicated by SMS," he added. "She told me not to call so as not to give away her hiding place."
Ali Esbati, a Swedish politician of Iranian descent who was at the camp, said in messages through his Twitter account that he had tried to help two children traumatised by the shooting.
Unhurt himself, he said he had been tens of metres from the gunman.
Adrian Pracon, an official who attended the event, told Norway's Varden newspaper of "complete panic" among the campers. He personally had seen four dead bodies.
Andre Skeie, 26, told Reuters news agency by telephone that he had seen 20 dead bodies in the water after arriving on his boat to help evacuate people.
Several witnesses told Norwegian media the gunman was of northern European appearance.