Following Oslo

The situation in Oslo today is, of course, horrendous. An apparent car bomb decimated the area around the government headquarters, and a gunman opened fire at a party youth camp where the prime minister was to make an appearance. Are they connected? We don’t know. In fact, while we know what is going on, we don’t really have a clue why.

A YouTube video captured the initial scene of devastation.

Now imagine if that were Times Square in New York. Wired suggests the method of attack — no one has yet said for sure it was a car bomb — mirrors the technique that a would-be bomber tried in Times Square last year:

As of this writing, there don’t appear to be body parts around the hulk of the car, or other indications that it was set off by a suicide driver. That would indicate the style of attack aped that of would-be Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad, who loaded an SUV with fireworks, gas and propane, ignited the device and walked away, expecting the car to detonate.

“That’s been so common that it’s not necessarily so sophisticated,” says Hank Crumpton, the former State Department counterterrorism chief. “Hezbollah’s used both suicide driver & remote detonations. Oklahoma City was remotely detonated, no suicide driver.”

Here’s live coverage from the BBC.

update 2:34 p.m. – Colleague Michael Olson has sent along a longer video taken in the immediate aftermath of the bombing.