Shetland islanders in mourning over Norway atrocity

Flags at half mast
Image caption As a mark of respect the flag on Lerwick Town Hall was at half mast

Islanders on Shetland are in mourning over the shooting and bombing of at least 92 people in Norway.

As a mark of respect the Tall Ships, which are visiting Lerwick Harbour before going on to Norway, are flying their ensigns at half mast.

The Shetland flag is also flying at half mast above the town hall in Lerwick.

Shetland, which is some 200 miles from Norway, has strong Norse links and a shared Viking heritage.

On Friday afternoon, at least 85 people were killed when a gunman opened fire at an island youth camp in Norway, hours after a deadly bombing in the capital, Oslo, which resulted in seven deaths.

Police have charged a 32-year-old Norwegian man over both attacks.

The man dressed as a police officer was arrested on tiny Utoeya island after an hour-long shooting spree. The search for other possible victims continues.

Expressing his sorrow, convenor of Shetland Islands Council, Sandy Cluness, said the people of Shetland "would like to express their sympathy to everybody who have lost relatives in this appalling event".

Chairman of the Tall Ships Races 2011 Event, Knut Western, added: "On behalf of everyone at Sail Training International and the team at The Tall Ships Races 2011 - Lerwick, we'd like to express our sympathies with those affected by these attacks in Norway."

The race, which is sailed in stages, began in Waterford, Ireland, then went to Greenock in Inverclyde and then to Lerwick, in the Shetland Isles.

Its next stage is to Stavanger, in Norway, and finally from Stavanger to Halmstad, in Sweden.

The vessels had been due to leave Shetland for Stavanger on Sunday, but that has been delayed until Monday because of high winds.

First Minister Alex Salmond also expressed his sorrow over the deaths in Norway.

He said: "On behalf of the Scottish government and the people of Scotland, I extend our deepest condolences to the people of Norway in the wake of this truly horrific and appalling tragedy.

Image caption Flowers have been laid in Oslo, Norway, following the attacks

"We have already offered the Norwegian Government any assistance they may require in the coming days, and we stand ready to help in any way we possibly can.

"Scotland and Norway enjoy very strong bonds of friendship stretching back over many years, and our thoughts and sympathies are today with the Norwegian people, particularly the families of all those affected by these terrible incidents."

Scottish Labour Leader Iain Gray also sent a "message of support and solidarity" from the Scottish Labour Party to the Norwegian Labour Party whose youth gathering on Utoeya was targeted.

In his message he said: "The loss of so many young lives is a tragedy, for their families of course, but also for the future of Norway and your party."