‘Failed’ terrorist attack on Stockholm Car bomb, suicide belt detonate; allegedly linked to Afghanistan

Stockholm Hit by Blasts After E-Mail Warning

NyTimes.com

TV4, via Associated Press

Emergency services attended the scene after a car exploded in the center of Stockholm on Saturday.

By CHRISTINA ANDERSON and JOHN F. BURNS

STOCKHOLM — One man was killed and two other people were injured when two explosions hit the heart of Stockholm’s city-center shopping district on Saturday evening, the police in the Swedish capital said. The country’s foreign minister called the blasts a terrorist attack, and an e-mail to news organizations minutes before the blasts seemed to link them to anger over anti-Islamic cartoons and the war in Afghanistan.

Fredrik Persson/European Pressphoto Agency

A police forensics team examined the remains of a suspected suicide bomber in central Stockholm on Saturday.

The police said that a car parked near the busy shopping street of Drottninggatan exploded first, shortly before 5 p.m. Stockholm time, and that the wreckage of the vehicle included gas canisters. A second blast followed minutes later, and about 200 yards from the first. A man’s body, with blast injuries to his abdomen, was discovered after the second explosion.

Swedish newspapers portrayed the dead man as a suicide bomber, and the newspaper Aftonbladet said on its Web site that he had been carrying pipe bombs and a backpack full of nails. But the police declined to confirm this. “We are in the middle of a technical investigation, and we are working methodically to find out what happened,” said a police spokeswoman, Petra Sjolander, who refused to speculate about whether the blasts were a terrorist attack.

Still, comments from Foreign Minister Carl Bildt on his Twitter account did not attempt to hedge the issue. His post read: “Most worrying attempt at terrorist attack in crowded part of central Stockholm. Failed — but could have been truly catastrophic…”

An editor at the Swedish news agency Tidningarnas Telegrambyra, Dan Skeppe, said the agency had received an e-mail minutes before the blasts; it was also addressed to Sweden’s security police, and included a sound recording addressed to “Sweden and the Swedish people.” Mr. Skeppe said the recording cited Swedish “silence” over cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad drawn by the artist Lars Vilks, criticized Sweden’s 500-soldier military contingent in northern Afghanistan and threatened attacks on Swedes.

“Now, your children — daughters and sisters — will die like our brothers and sisters and children die,” it continued. “Our actions will speak for themselves. As long as you do not end your war against Islam and the insult against the prophet and your stupid support for that pig Vilks.”…

Continue Reading>>>