President Shimon Peres sent a special condolence letter to the King of Norway and the Norwegian people after two murderous attacks rocked Norway on Friday afternoon.
In the letter the President wrote: "The people of Israel are shocked and share the grief of the people of Norway on the despicable murder of innocent civilians and innocent youth. Our hearts are with the bereaved families who have lost that which is most dear to them. We pray for the speedy recovery of the wounded."
Ninety four people, many of them youth from a Labor Party summer camp, are known to be dead. At least 85 people died when a gunman opened fire at the Utoya camp on Friday, hours after a bomb blast in the downtown Oslo’s government quarter killed seven. Another four are missing on the island.
It was possible the total death toll from the two attacks could rise to 98, said Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim.
Television stations showed crowds of office workers running through the streets in Oslo, with documents and broken glass littering the ground.
They showed pictures of people swimming away from the island and of bodies on the shore. There is no bridge connecting the island, a third of a mile from Oslo, to the mainland. Police arrived on the island about 45 minutes after the shooting started, according to Norwegian media.
A 32-year-old Norwegian man was charged over both attacks, but police said they were unsure if he acted alone or was connected with anti-Islamist groups. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said that police were also investigating any possible international connection to the terror attacks.
The suspect is reported by local media to be a fundamentalist Christian who had links with right-wing extremists. He has been named as Anders Behring Breivik.
There is speculation that the Oslo bomb may have been made with highly explosive artificial fertilizer – just like the Oklahoma City bombing in 1995.
The Associated Press quoted the Norwegian newspaper Verdens Gang, which reported that the suspect bought six tons of highly explosive artificial fertilizer about 10 weeks ago, but that police were not alerted to the purchase at the time.
The newspaper also reported that police had blocked off a farm in Asta, 100 miles north of Oslo, and were searching it, and Norwegian media speculated that the farm may have been the source of explosives used in the attack on Oslo, which blew out almost every window in the prime minister’s office building.
There have been threats against Scandanavian countries in the past. Stockholm, Sweden was attacked by a bomber in December who injured two people and killed himself over Sweden's part in the war in Afghanistan.
LIbyan Leader Mouamar Qaddafi threatened Europe with suicide bombings in revenge for NATO bombings to protect civilians and Norway is part of those forces.
Norwegians are wondering how the attacks will change the country, according to the media. Prime Minister Stoltenberg said to reporters: “I have a message to whoever attacked us. It’s a message from all of Norway. You will not destroy us. You will not destroy our democracy.”
The Norwegian Embassy in Israel lowered its flag to half-mast in mourning.