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Report: Oslo bombing 'could have been prevented'

An investigation by an independent panel into the attacks that killed 77 people in Norway in July 2011 has concluded that the bombing in Oslo that started the attack could have been prevented.

The independent commission submitted the report to Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg on Monday.

"The attack on the government complex on 22 July could have been prevented through effective implementation of already adopted security measures," the commission said in its report.

Anders Behring Breivik, currently on trial for the bombing and subsequent shooting spree on Utoeya island, set off a car bomb on July 22, 2011 in Oslo that killed eight people near government buildings. He then moved on to Utoeya, where the shooting spree claimed an additional 69 lives. Most of the victims on the island were teenagers.

"The authorities' ability to protect the people on Utoeya island failed," the commission said. "A more rapid police operation was a realistic possibility."

Breivik is expected to be sentenced later this month.

The independent commission was created a year ago by Prime Minister Stoltenberg. At the time, he said the 10-member commission was to help create "a safer Norway" and "get facts on the table."

The head of the commission, Alexandra Bech Gjorv, said that several major weaknesses had been uncovered during the investigation.

Surveillance, protection of government buildings, and the response of the police were among areas reviewed by the panel.

mz/kms (AFP, dpa)