Some Norway massacre victims still missing

Elizabeth Amundsen,16, (left) and Tiril Killi, 16, comfort each other as hundreds of thousands of people gather at a memorial vigil following twin extremist attacks, July 25, 2011 in Oslo, Norway.
Paula Bronstein /Getty Images

OSLO, Norway - Norway's justice minister told reporters Tuesday that employees from his department were still missing after an attack on government headquarters in Oslo and a shooting spree at a nearby island that killed at least 76.

Police have not released the names of the victims yet but hope to start that process Tuesday. Justice Minister Knut Storberget gave no information about the missing.

Anders Behring Breivik has confessed to last week's bombing in the capital and a rampage at a Labor Party retreat for young people. In all, 76 people have been confirmed killed in the twin attacks that have stunned peaceful Norway.

"The Justice Ministry has people who are missing, we have people who are very hard hit by this and we are without offices," Storberget told reporters.

Breivik made his first appearance in court on Monday to answer the terrorism charges against him. He calmly told the court that he committed the massacre but pleaded not guilty because he acted to save Europe from "Muslim domination." His plea guarantees him future court hearings and opportunities to address the public, even indirectly.

Norway has been stunned by the attacks and riveted by Breivik's paranoid and disturbing writings. Hundreds thronged the courthouse, hoping to get their first glimpse of the man.

Still, tens of thousands of Norwegians also defied his rhetoric of hate to gather in central Oslo for a "rose march" to mourn the victims and lay thousands of flowers around the city. Flowers at least a foot deep still covered Oslo's streets Tuesday.

Police believe Breivik, 32, acted alone, despite his grand claims in a 1,500-page manifesto that he belonged to a modern group of crusaders. But they have not completely ruled out that he had accomplices.

Judge Kim Heger ordered Breivik held for eight weeks, including four in isolation, noting his reference to "two more cells within our organization."

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In his remarks Tuesday, Storberget also offered a defense of the police, who announced a substantial reduction in the official death toll on Monday, adding to a growing series of missteps in their response.

Police have acknowledged that they took 90 minutes to reach Utoya island, where a gunman was picking off young people attending a retreat for the Labor Party's youth wing. They weren't able to deploy a helicopter because the entire crew had been sent on vacation. Victims who called emergency services from the midst of the massacre were told to stay off the line because authorities were dealing with the Oslo bombing.

"I feel the police have delivered well in this situation. I also feel they've delivered especially well on the points where there's been criticism raised," said Storberget.

When asked if police would open an investigation into their conduct, Storberget indicated that such a probe was a way off.

"It's very important that we have an open and critical discussion about how all sections of society handle a situation. ... But there's a time for everything, and we have been fully focused and continue to be focused on taking care of all those that have been affected," said Storberget.

On Monday, police said they'd counted bodies twice in the confusion of the initial response while they were trying to help survivors. They had said previously 86 people died in the island shooting, but have now said 68 were killed. A further eight people died in the bombing.