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Homeland Security

Counterterrorism Experts to Review Norway's Security Services

VOA News July 28, 2011

Counter terrorism experts from the European Union and Norway will meet in Brussels on Thursday to discuss ways to prevent attacks similar to the one that killed 76 people last week in Oslo.

Norwegian police said on Wednesday it is increasingly likely the suspect in the attacks, Anders Behring Breivik, worked alone and that he is not part of a widespread terror network.

Police say they are still investigating Breivik's claims to be a part of a wider "crusade" against Muslim immigration and multiculturalism in Europe.

On Wednesday, Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg announced an independent performance review of the country's security services.

What critics are saying

Domestic critics say Norwegian police were slow to respond to the shooting attack that killed at least 68 people on the southern island of Utoeya, where hundreds of youth activists had gathered for a ruling Labour Party retreat.

Utoeya is about 40 kilometers from the capital, Oslo, where the confessed killer, Breivik, had detonated a car bomb shortly before going to the island. The blast killed eight people and wrecked Stoltenberg's office building.

One of the first policemen to arrive on Utoeya said Wednesday the 32-year-old gunman surrendered by raising his hands above his head as soon as the squad yelled that "armed police" were approaching him.

Specialized police officers drove from Oslo and used boats to reach Utoeya because it was considered faster than using a helicopter. The first boat that the squad tried to use broke down.

More democracy

In his news conference, Stoltenberg said Norway will not be intimidated by the attacks and predicted his nation will become a more democratic, open society with broader public participation in politics. He also said extreme political views are legitimate in Norwegian society, but implementing them violently is not.

Breivik faces terrorism charges for the attacks, which he says were aimed at saving Europe's Christian heritage from what he calls "Muslim colonization." An Oslo court ruled Monday that the suspect should be detained for eight weeks as police investigate his actions. Friday's violence was the deadliest in Norway since World War II.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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