Police: Stockholm attacker had three sets of bombs

Prosecutor says "I don't think his intention was to blow himself up only... it was a failure, luckily"; bomber was Swedish citizen who lived in Britain.

December 13, 2010 19:02
3 minute read.
Stockholm police examine suicide bombing scene

Sweden Stockholm suicide bomber 311 ap. (photo credit: AP)

STOCKHOLM — The suicide bomber who killed himself in Stockholm carried three sets of bombs and had sent threats referring to "jihad" in an e-mail shortly before his death, a prosecutor said Monday.

Prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand identified the suicide bomber behind Saturday's blasts as 28-year-old Taimour Abdulwahab, a Swedish citizen who has lived in Britain for the past ten years.

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Parts of the explosives probably detonated by mistake before Abdulwahab reached his final destination, he said.

"He had three sets of bombs and I don't think his intention was to blow himself up only," Lindstrand told The Associated Press. "It was a failure, luckily."

He said Abdulwahab had bombs strapped to his body, more in a backpack and also carried "something that looked like a pressure-cooker."

Abdulwahab was also the registered owner of the car that exploded in Stockholm shortly before the suicide blast Saturday that also wounded two people, and e-mail threats sent to police and the Swedish news agency TT before the blasts have been linked to his cell phone, Lindstrand said.

"He was well-equipped with bomb material, so I guess it isn't a too daring guess to say he was on his way to a place where there were as many people as possible, maybe the central station, maybe Ahlens," Lindstrand said, referring to a nearby subway station and department store.

Abdulwahab, who had roots in the Middle East, had been a Swedish citizen since 1992. Although he apparently had harbored radical ideas for some time, Lindstrand said he was completely unknown to Swedish security police before the blasts.

The prosecutor said it was difficult for Swedish police to keep track of him since he had lived in Britain for the past 10 years and was only in Sweden to celebrate his father's birthday.

"To read, to analyze, to understand, to make correct assessments from Facebook, I mean, we don't have a Stasi organization, it's a free country," Lindstrand told the AP.

Abdulwahab apparently had several ties to Luton, a town of 200,000 about 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of London, which has a large Muslim community and has seen tensions rise in recent years.

Farasat Latif, secretary of the Luton Islamic Centre in Britain, told The Associated Press that Abdulwahab had gone there "for a couple of months" in 2006 or 2007, but left after being challenged for his radicalism.

The University of Bedfordshire in Luton also confirmed that he had studied there between 2001 and 2004.

On his Facebook account, Abdulwahab had posted comments against Shiites, whom Sunni Muslims consider heretics, as well as a link to a video showing a dying man, maybe injured in Chechnya, praying to God to die as martyr.

Abdulwahab commented on the video, writing: "Taimour likes Abu Dujana, the death of a shaheed (martyr)."

On Sunday, the al-Qaida affiliated Shumokh al-Islam website posted a message calling Abdulwahab a "brother" and quoting a prayer saying "God let me die as you are satisfied with me."

The audio file sent in an e-mail to the security police and Swedish news agency TT shortly before the blast referred to jihad, Sweden's military presence in Afghanistan and an image by a Swedish artist that depicted the Prophet Muhammad as a dog, enraging many Muslims.

A man's voice in the audio said, because of Sweden's silence toward all this, "so will your children, daughters, brothers and sisters die, like our brothers, sister and children die."

"Now the Islamic state has been created. We now exist here in Europe and in Sweden. We are a reality," the man's voice said. "I don't want to say more about this. Our actions will speak for themselves."

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