Stoltenberg in Oslo on Wednesday. (Reuters)
Oslo, July 27 (AP): Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg vowed today that the twin terror attacks that have stunned his country will not intimidate Norway and that his countrymen will fight back with more democracy.
Stoltenberg underlined his commitment to openness, defending freedom of thought even if includes extremist views such as those held by the 32-year-old Norwegian who confessed to Fridays bomb blast at government headquarters and to the shooting massacre at a Labour Party youth camp hours later. At least 76 people were killed. We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — thats completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence, he said.
Norwegians will defend themselves by showing they are not afraid of violence and by participating more broadly in politics, he told reporters.
Its absolutely possible to have an open, democratic, inclusive society, and at the same time have security measures and not be naive, he said.
I think what we have seen is that there is going to be one Norway before and one Norway after July 22, he said. But I hope and also believe that the Norway we will see after will be more open, a more tolerant society than what we had before.
The vicious attacks in the placid, liberal country have left Norwegians appalled and shaky, but determined to move forward. Some government workers were planning to return to work in their offices in the buildings where the bomb blasts blew out most windows.
Denmark said today a 43-year-old Danish woman, Hanne Balch Fjalestad, had died in the attacks, marking the first confirmed foreign death.
She was working as a first aid medic at Utoya island. She leaves behind four children, including a 20-year-old daughter, Anna, who survived the island shooting.
Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to the attacks, saying he was trying to save the western world from Muslim colonisation.
Meanwhile, the leader of Norways Delta Force defended the special operations team, saying the breakdown of a boat did not cause a significant delay in efforts to reach the island where Breiviks shooting rampage killed 68 people.
Police have come under close scrutiny over how long it took them to reach the island after first reports of shots being fired at the island youth camp on Friday. Although the island is only about 40km from the Norwegian capital, police needed 90 minutes to get to the scene.
A media helicopter was already hovering over the island when police arrived. Marius Arnesen, a cameraman for broadcaster NRK who shot video of the massacre at Utoya island, told The Associated Press that his helicopter arrived some time between 6pm and 6.10pm. Police say got to the island at 6.25pm.
Police were already grappling with the wide damage inflicted in the downtown government quarter. When word of the shooting came, police drove rather than take a helicopter because the crew of the sole chopper available to them was on vacation. Then the first boat they tried to take to the lake island broke down.