Peres to Norway's king: Your country is a symbol of peace

Netanyahu releases statement saying Israel identifies with "deep pain and grief" of Norway after terror attack leaves at least 98 dead.

By REUTERS, JPOST.COM STAFF
July 24, 2011 14:38
2 minute read.
Authorities search for bodies in Utoyea, Norway

Utoeya island 311. (photo credit: REUTERS)

President Shimon Peres on Sunday called Norwegian King Harald V to express his condolences over Friday's shooting spree and bomb attack that left 98 people dead in Norway.

"Your country is a symbol of peace and freedom," Peres told the king according to an official statement. "In Israel we followed the events over the weekend in Norway and the attack on innocent civilians broke our hearts. It is a painful tragedy that touches every human being. We send our condolences to the families that lost their loved ones and a speedy recovery to the wounded. Israel is willing to assist in whatever is needed."

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The king thanked Peres for the call, adding that the attacks are "a terrible tragedy for our entire nation. We are shocked and grieving as a result of this despicable murder.

On Saturday night, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that Israel identified with the "deep pain and grief" of the Norwegian people.

The prime minister's message of condolence came as Norwegian police searched for more victims and a possible second gunman after a suspected right-wing zealot killed up to 98 people in a terror attack that traumatized a once-placid country.

The Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that Israel "expresses its shock at the revolting terror attacks in Oslo, which have taken the lives of innocent victims. Nothing at all can justify such wanton violence, and we condemn this brutal action with the utmost gravity."

The statement said that Israel would offer Norway any assistance it may require, an offer repeated in a phone conversation Defense Minister Ehud Barak had with his counterparts in Norway. The Norwegians, according to a statement issued by Barak's office, thanked Israel for the offer, but said that at this time they did not need any assistance.

Israel offered forensic assistance, help in evacuating the wounded, and medical support.

A 32-year-old Norwegian named Anders Behring Breivik was arrested after Friday's massacre of young people on a tiny forested holiday island that was hosting the annual summer camp for the youth wing of Norway's ruling Labor party.

Breivik was also charged for the bombing of Oslo's government district that killed seven people hours earlier.

If convicted on the terrorism charges, he would face a maximum of 21 years in jail, police said.

Breivik had belonged to an anti-immigration party and wrote blogs attacking multi-culturalism and Islam, but police said he had been unknown to them and that his Internet activity traced so far included no calls for violence.


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