Mon, Dec 13, 2010 - Page 1 News List

Sweden says Stockholm blasts were ‘terror crimes’

Reuters, STOCKHOLM

Swedish police investigating two blasts that rocked central Stockholm on Saturday night, killing one person and wounding two, said yesterday they had good leads into what they said were “terror crimes.”

Before the explosions, the Swedish news agency TT received a threatening letter about Sweden’s military presence in Afghanistan and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed drawn several years ago by a Swedish cartoonist.

A senior Swedish security police official told a news conference yesterday the blasts were being treated as “terror crimes” and police had established good leads.

Anders Thornberg, director of operations at the Security Police, said police could neither confirm that the man who died was a suicide bomber nor discuss his identity, as some family members had not yet been informed.

“We are investigating this as terror crimes according to Swedish law ... we have not raised the security [threat] level,” Thornberg said, adding that the police were stepping up their presence in the capital.

The drama began when a car burst into flames near a busy shopping street in the city center, followed by explosions inside the car that police said were caused by gas canisters.

The second explosion, about 300m away and 10 to 15 minutes later, killed one man and wounded two people.

Police vans cordoned off several streets around the body and towed away the car. The rest of the city center was calm, with people having a normal Saturday night out.

TT said the e-mail it received was also sent to the Security Police and had sound files in Swedish and Arabic.

“Our actions will speak for themselves, as long as you do not end your war against Islam and humiliation of the Prophet and your stupid support for the pig Vilks,” TT quoted a man as saying in one recording.

TT said the threat was linked to Sweden’s contribution to the US-led NATO force in Afghanistan, where it has 500 soldiers, mainly in the north.

It also referred to caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who depicted the Prophet with the body of a dog in a cartoon in 2007.

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