HELSINKI, Nov. 7 (Xinhua) -- Finnish Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen extended on Wednesday his government's condolences to a school shooting earlier in the day that claimed eight lives and left a few more wounded, government officials said.
After a government session dedicated to the discussion of the tragedy on Wednesday evening, Vanhanen extended his government's heartfelt condolences to the families and friends of victims of the incident.
During the evening session, the government observed a short period of silence to commemorate the victims.
Describing the shooting, the worst in the Nordic country's history, as "a great tragedy, "Vanhanen said, "This is an awful day. The shooting has deeply undermined the sense of security in society."
The government also made a decision that flags are to be flown at half-mast on all public buildings on Thursday, and urged the whole country to follow suit.
The shooting took place in Jokela High School in Tuusula, some 50 kilometers north of Helsinki, the capital of Finland on Wednesday. Eight people were killed, among whom one is the school headmistress and others are the pupils. Several more were injured.
School shootings are rare in Finland. Wednesday's school shooting is the second in Finland in the past 20 years. In 1989, two students were killed in a shooting at the Raumameri School in Rauma.