Police and royal guards evacuated the area around the US Embassy and the adjacent Royal Palace in Oslo on Tuesday, after finding “a suspicious object” underneath a car parked near the embassy. A police helicopter hovered overhead, around an hour after the first alarm came in.
Police launched a major operation around midday and were getting back-up support from royal guards on duty at the palace, to evacuate a large area around both the embassy and the palace.
The evacuation orders extended to the palace itself, where palace spokeswoman Marianne Hagen confirmed that all visitors taking part in guided tours were ushered out of the building. Hagen told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) that no members of the royal family were present at the palace and that employees were not being evacuated.
The evacuation order covers an area within 500 meters of the embassy, meaning that it extended down towards the Foreign Ministry building as well. The Norwegian Nobel Institute is just across the street from the embassy and the neighbourhood is also home to residential and office buildings in addition to retail shops and restaurants.
Embassy staff alerted police to what police operations leader Martin Todnem called “a suspicious object” under a car near the embassy, which is located at Henrik Ibsens gate 48 at the busy corner of Parkveien.
There’s been a major emergency response to the alarm and police have blocked off many streets around the embassy. The police bomb team was on the scene. Bus and tram lines through the area were suspended as well, leading to traffic disruptions through downtown.
The US Embassy has been considered a terrorist target for years and is under constant police surveillance. Ground was broken on a new embassy site earlier this year at a location deemed to be more secure, at Huseby northwest of downtown.
Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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