Monday

17th Feb 2020

Swedish bomb inquiry expands to Britain

  • Swedish PM Fredrik Reinfeldt called the blasts 'unacceptable' (Photo: Magnus Fröderberg/norden.org)

British police on Sunday searched a house in connection with the alleged terrorist who blew himself up and injured two others in a busy shopping area in Stockholm - the first jihad-inspired suicide bombing in the Nordic country.

A property in Bedfordshire, north of London, was searched in connection with two blasts which occurred on Saturday afternoon, the Metropolitan Police said.

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"We remain in close contact with the Swedish authorities. It would be inappropriate to comment on their ongoing investigation at this time," a Home Office spokesman said.

According to British and Swedish media reports, the suicide bomber was Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, an Iraqi-born Swede aged 29, who also spent some time in Britain, where he studied physical therapy.

Stockholm's Christmas shoppers on Saturday afternoon were shocked when a car blew up on the busy Drottning street, only to be followed by a second blast, some 10-15 minutes later. The last explosion was the suicide bomber himself. Two people passing nearby were injured, but no other fatalities were reported, Swedish police said.

Shortly before the explosions, police and a Swedish news agency received an e-mail with recordings in Swedish and Arabic from a man who said it was "time to strike" because a "war was being waged against Islam." In the recording, the suspect expresses anger at the Afghan deployment and at a Swedish artist, Lars Vilks, who in 2007 published a caricature of the prophet Mohammed. The man also apologised to his family for lying about his trips to the Middle East, saying he went "for Jihad."

In a snap press conference, Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt called the attack "unacceptable", especially the fact that "this man was walking around with explosives in Stockholm."

He declined to connect the recordings with the blasts, "even if much evidence points to this," and urged citizens not to panic.

Sweden's security service raised its terror alert level from "low" to "elevated" in October, following a US travel alert warning its citizens of potential terror attacks in Europe. The threat level has not been elevated following the Saturday attack.

The blast was recorded by people passing by and uploaded to YouTube.

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