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Norwegians fill Oslo cathedral to mourn

The prime minister addresses the memorial, which the king and queen attend. Also in Oslo, a police official says suspect Anders Behring Breivik is cooperating.

July 24, 2011|By Henry Chu | Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
  • Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, left, and attack survivor Eskild Pedersen, center, attend a Mass for victims of the government office bombing and youth camp massacre at the Domkirken Church in Oslo.
Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, left, and attack survivor… (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty…)

OSLO, Norway — A long line of Norwegians streamed into Oslo's cathedral Sunday morning for a service focused on the grief and need for healing after Friday's attacks that left 93 dead.

Police searched bags as people entered the service, which was attended by Norway's king and queen.

"Today we are mourning. Today we want to stop and remember those who died," Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg said at the service, as attendees in the pews wept.

Photos: Norway attack

In all, 93 people were killed and 97 wounded in the Oslo bombing and Utoya Island shooting rampage. There are still people missing at both scenes, and divers were searching the waters around the island for bodies.

Stoltenberg grew emotional as he recalled a woman named Monica who had worked at the island youth camp for 20 years. "She has died, shot and killed while she tried to create safety and happiness for young people," Stoltenberg said.

"Soon we will be given the names and pictures of those who have died, and then the size and scale of this cruelty will become apparent. This will be a new trial for us, but we will manage that one as well. In the middle of all this tragedy I am proud to live in a country that is able to stand at such a critical moment, to stand together."

Also Sunday, Oslo Deputy Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim said the suspect, Anders Behring Breivik, was cooperating, and that "the dialogue between him and police has been good."

Police would not comment on the long right-wing online manifesto attributed to Breivik, saying only that it was part of the investigation.

As for whether there was a second shooter, "we are not looking for anybody else, but we are working on the assumption there might be other people. ... We are investigating," Sponheim said.

He added that 30 people were treated for injuries in the bomb attack and 67 were injured on Utoya island.

Meanwhile, according to Reuters, a Norwegian daily reported that the suspect's father, who lives in France, said he is in shock and only learned of his son's involvement via online coverage.

"I was reading the online newspapers and suddenly I saw his name and picture on the net," the father told the daily Verdens Gang of his son. It said the man was interviewed "somewhere in France," where he is a pensioner.

"I have not recovered yet," said the man, who added that he has had had no contact with his son since 1995.

In Italy, Pope Benedict XVI responded to the Norway attacks by urging people to renounce hatred.

The pope urged people to pray for the dead, the wounded and their loved ones as he spoke Sunday to pilgrims and tourists from the balcony of his summer palace in Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

Benedict said he is issuing a heartfelt appeal for people to "abandon hatred once and for all" and renounce "the logic of evil."

Photos: Norway attack

henry.chu@latimes.com

Times wire services contributed to this report.

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