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U.S. Practice Bomb Prompts Oslo Police to Evacuate Downtown

A practice explosive device used by the U.S. embassy in Oslo caused mobilization of the bomb squad and the evacuation of the Royal Palace a year after Norway’s capital was rocked by its deadliest peace time terror attack.

Police cordoned off parts of downtown Oslo today for about two hours after U.S. embassy personnel warned of a car with a suspicious package. The device was found to be a harmless “practice bomb,” local police said.

“The car has been used for internal practice purposes at the embassy and the find can be linked to this,” the police said in a statement. “Oslo police regret the consequences of this but had to act as if the situation was real.”

The embassy is located not far from the Norwegian prime minister’s office, which last July was partially destroyed by a car bomb set off by Anders Behring Breivik and that killed eight people. Breivik, who then attacked a Labor Party youth conference on the island of Utoeya killing 69 people, has admitted to the murders.

The city expects to be compensated for costs related to the deployment of security personnel if the bomb scare turns out to have been caused by a mistake by U.S. embassy personnel, said Stian Berger Roesland, head of the Oslo city council.

“If carelessness is the cause of today’s drama in Oslo, an apology and an offer of economic compensation must be expected,” he wrote on his Twitter Inc. account.

The U.S. embassy doesn’t comment on matters of security, spokesman Patrick Geraghty said by phone from Oslo. The embassy plans to release a statement later today, he said.

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