Sweden bomber metres from wreaking carnage

2010-12-14 09:37

Stockholm - A suicide bomber who blew himself up in Stockholm at the weekend was just minutes away from wreaking carnage among Christmas shoppers, said Sweden's foreign minister Carl Bildt.

The man, carrying a cocktail of explosives according to Swedish investigators, was only "a couple of hundred metres" from causing massive casualties, Bildt told BBC television on Monday.

The bomber, whom investigators strongly believe was Taymour Abdelwahab, was the only person to die in Saturday's attack. Two other people were injured when the bomber detonated a car before blowing himself up.

Sweden's chief prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand told reporters he was "98%" certain of the bomber's identity, but was awaiting DNA test results for confirmation.

Investigators believed the bomber was a Swedish citizen who lived in Britain and that he had been bent on killing "as many people as possible", he added.

And after an Islamist group said Abdelwahab had targeted Sweden because of its military presence in Afghanistan, Lindstrand warned that the bomber would likely have had accomplices.

'Extremely lucky'

In London, meanwhile, a spokesperson for the city's Metropolitan Police said officers had raided a property in nearby Luton late on Sunday as part of the investigation.

Bildt told the BBC that the bomber appeared to have been "heading into probably the most crowded place of Stockholm at the most crowded time of the year".

"He was heading into a place where if he had exploded all of the ordnance that he had with him... it would have been mass casualties of a sort that we have not seen in Europe for quite some time."

He added: "We were extremely lucky... I mean minutes and just a couple of hundred metres from where it would have been very catastrophic."

Prosecutor Lindstrand sketched a similar scenario to reporters: "He had a bomb belt on him, he had a backpack with a bomb and he was carrying an object that has been compared to a pressure cooker."

"If it had all blown up at the same time, it would have been very powerful," he said.

Father of three

"This was during Christmas shopping in central Stockholm and he was extremely well-equipped when it came to bomb material.... It is not much of a stretch to say he was going to a place with as many people as possible."

And while it had been established the suspect carried out the attack alone, investigators "have to assume he worked with several people", Lindstrand added.

Abdelwahab, a father of three, would have been 29 the day after the blasts.

He was reportedly born in Iraq, but investigators said he became a Swedish citizen 18 years ago. He had never come to the attention of the security services, they added.

In Britain, the chairperson of a mosque in Luton where the suspected bomber used to worship described Abdelwahab as a "bubbly" character.

He had been known for his hardline views before he "stormed out" for good when tackled about them in 2007.


"I had to confront him three or four times because his views were so extreme," Qadeer Baksh said.

"He was saying physical jihad was an obligation for all Muslims and saying that Muslim scholars are unreliable and untrustworthy because they are in the pockets of governments," he added.

"I am shocked because I never imagined he would go this far."

Luton has seen clashes between Islamic and far-right extremists in recent years.

In 2005 the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people on London's transport system met up there to make their way into the capital.

An Islamist website, Shumukh al-Islam, posted a purported will by Abdelwahab which said he was fulfilling a threat by al-Qaeda in Iraq to attack Sweden.

Artist blamed

On Saturday Sweden's Saepo intelligence agency and the TT news agency received an e-mail with audio files in which a man believed to be the bomber is heard calling on "all hidden mujahedeen in Europe, and especially in Sweden, it is now the time to fight back".

The message referred to the Swedish army's presence in Afghanistan and to Swedish artist Lars Vilks, the object of numerous threats since his drawing of the Prophet Mohammed was first published in 2007.

"The Swedish people are being warned for not having handled me.... This is a way of laying on collective responsibility," Vilks said.

"I have received many calls and e-mails from people accusing me of having put the Swedish people in this situation, saying it is my fault," he said.

Seven bomb experts from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation were on their way to Sweden to help with the investigation, Saepo said.

  • WPWW - 2010-12-14 10:19

    Why not just ban mahomedams from all of europe. Hell we fought for hundreds of years to keep them out and now they are granting them citizenship, wtf!?

  • Ozymandios - 2010-12-14 10:57

    The reality is that Sweden has for decades adopted an approach of welcoming these people into their country. They give them all the same benefits as the Swedes get, who are the genuine article. Now these ever grateful refugees turn on their hosts. But knwoig how they treat oen another this is not soemthign strange in their behaviour. Nice guys. So one of the reasons is that Swedish soldiers are fighting them in Afghanistan? So if that peeves you off Ragheads then go back to Afghanistan and fight the Swedes there. But they'll still claim the benefits from the Swedish governemnt and its people in the meantime. Very much the same as Mark Twain said" You can take a starving dog off the streets and feed it and it will never bite the hand that feeds it. Thats the difference between a man and a dog." Sweden must, and no doubt will learn very quickly that being the NICE guy makes you come second and in this case very dead. It's always the 'do-gooders' that always end up getting killed in these cases.But when you are coming up against an Ideology (which Islam is and not a religion) then you either capitulate to their ideology( which they are now demanding world wide) or destroy it. The time is coming, and not too far down the road either, when Europe is going to turn on these "rats" and drive them back home and it won't be a second too soon.

      ByeByeAfrica - 2010-12-14 16:18

      @Ozymandios Couldn't have said it better myself. The stupid liberal governments of Europe are to blame for allowing so many illegal immigrants in and allowing them to benefit from our social welfare. The biggest blamers are Britain. That's why so many immigrants want to go there. Now Europe has a massive problem in their hands. Too many blacks and too many Arabs; Blacks because of their violent gangs, drug pushers, and other violent activities. Arabs because of their many strange traditions that go against western values and their so called "peacefull" religion that's so full of hatred for other religions and who want to dominate the world by enforcing their doctrine on others. Send them back to their countries as possible, just like they don't want whites in their countries.

  • Fikile - 2010-12-14 11:04

    The rest of the world has to suffer for americans to be able to drive there large V8's there greed for oil. Time U let them fight there own wars. Sweden get out it is not worth it. Collateral damage, and it takes a brave person to wipe out an entire family firing a missile from a drone while sitting 10000km's away, what's the difference killing is killing.

      Adam - 2010-12-14 11:22

      You idiot. There's a big difference between attacking militant extremists and fighters than blowing up a shopping centre filled with women and children going along their business. America is a much freer country than afghanistan will ever be and so is Sweden. The leaders of these extremist nations are ever concerned that their people will one day desire the freedom that the Swedes and Americans experience and will rise up against them. Your hatred against a free nation such as America shows itself. Just because of your jealousy that you will never drive a large V8 does not warrant your comments.

      Fikile - 2010-12-14 13:51

      @Adam, so killing an entire families (women and children) in Afghanistan via remote control or dropping a bombs the size of cars on their houses and home is now called freedom. Are they of less value than that of the people of sweden? You sound like my brother Julius Malema. I happy america did not bring freedom and democracy to SA. LOL. are you free or are you dom. Maybe I have a V8 hummer a tender or two who knows. u r a joke man, listen to your self.

      Nibiru - 2010-12-14 14:49

      @Fikile You brainwashed foolish earthling

      walshcraig - 2010-12-14 15:06

      Fighting for freedom is like fucking for virginity.............. Go figure.

      tiyani.sithole - 2010-12-15 18:50

      well said fikile. one thing has always worried me, why is britain and america making so much noise about mugabe when there are states that takes little regard to human rights? could it be that they don't have not minerals or oil? damn Hypocrites.

  • jacobus.dejager - 2010-12-14 12:16

    Why are these people blowing up everything and themselves? It is such a cowardly act, it doesn't resolve anything, same for the war. Countries like the USA and Sweden bar good people from other countries becoming citizens, but are welcoming bombers and terrorists. Good for the world we live in, just see Wikileaks......

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