13 Dec 2010

Stockholm explosions being treated as terrorist attack

10:01 am on 13 December 2010

Sweden is treating two explosions in a busy shopping area of Stockholm as a crime of terror.

A car blew up in Drottninggatan street, a busy shopping area, at 5pm on Saturday, followed by a second explosion 10 - 15 minutes later in a street about 300 metres away.

Witnesses said a man found dead after the second blast was carrying an explosive device. Two people were hurt.

Police are investigating an e-mail sent to a news agency shortly before the blasts threatening attacks because Sweden has troops in Afghanistan.

Sweden has some 500 soldiers deployed in Afghanistan as part of the international military force.

The e-mail, which was sent to the Saepo security service and the TT news agency, called for "mujahideen" to rise up in Sweden and Europe, promising Swedes would "die like our brothers and sisters".

It also attacked the country for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad drawn by Swedish artist Lars Vilks.

The BBC reports the nature of the explosions is similar to previous attempted attacks in New York, Glasgow and London.

The blasts occurred as people were out Christmas shopping.

The Shumukh al-Islam website has named the dead man as Taymour Abdel Wahab.

It has published an accompanying photograph of a man in dark glasses standing with his hands in his pockets.

Bombings denounced

Police said the car contained gas canisters and there were a series of minor explosions.

Unconfirmed reports in the Aftonbladet newspaper said the dead man was carrying pipe bombs, as well as a backpack full of nails.

Prime minister Fredrick Reinfeldt has denounced the bombings.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said a terrorist attack that could have been "truly catastrophic" had failed.