Nation/World

Swedish capital rocked by blasts

In this image from video,  emergency services  work at the scene after a car exploded in the center of Stockholm on Saturday.  (Associated Press)
In this image from video, emergency services work at the scene after a car exploded in the center of Stockholm on Saturday. (Associated Press)

STOCKHOLM, Sweden – A suspected suicide bomber was killed and two people were injured Saturday in blasts that rocked a popular shopping district in Stockholm, the Swedish capital.

A car parked at a crowded intersection in central Stockholm exploded about 4:50 p.m., followed by another blast a short distance away. At the scene of the second explosion, a witness reported finding a young man on the sidewalk with wounds to his midsection and a Palestinian kaffiyeh-style scarf tied around his face. The man, who has not been identified, later died.

Minutes before the explosions, a Swedish news agency received an e-mail that contained a call to arms to Muslim fighters and a threat to take revenge for Sweden’s involvement in the war in Afghanistan and for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad by a Swedish artist. The e-mail came attached with audio files in Swedish and Arabic.

“Now your children, daughters and sisters will die just like our brothers, sisters and children are dying,” the e-mail said. “Our actions will speak for themselves.”

The e-mail lashed out at Swedes for their “war against Islam,” for “denigrating the prophet” and for their “stupid support of the pig Vilks,” a reference to the artist Lars Vilks, whose drawings of Muhammad as a dog sparked controversy in 2007.

Sweden’s security police also received a copy of the e-mail, but a spokeswoman declined to comment on its content and would not confirm whether it was sent by the man who died after the second explosion.

In October, Swedish authorities raised the country’s terrorist threat level from low to elevated because of “a shift in activities” among homegrown militant groups. But the security police followed up by saying that no attack was imminent.



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