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Twin blasts rock central Stockholm
Suspected bomber killed in explosion in centre of Swedish capital, just minutes after apparent warning was received.
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2010 11:28 GMT
Local media reported that the man found dead was the suspected bomber [Reuters]

Two explosions have rocked central Stockholm, the Swedish capital, killing one person and injuring two, according to rescue officials.

The first blast came from a car that exploded near Drottninggatan, a busy shopping street in the centre of the city, Ulf Goransson, a spokesman for the Swedish police, told Al Jazeera on Saturday.

Shortly afterwards, a second explosion was heard further up the same street and the body of a man was found on the ground.

"There was series of minor explosions, causing a fire in one of the cars in the street. Some minutes later, we found a man seriously injured 300 metres away from the scene of the first explosion. This man died," he said.

Authorities suspect that at least one of the blasts was a suicide attack.

"Most worrying attempt at terrorist attack in crowded part of central Stockholm," Carl Bildt, the Swedish foreign minister, said in comments on his Twitter account.

"Failed - but could have been truly catastrophic."

Bag of nails

Sweden's SVT television later reported that the man who died in the attack was the bomber. A bag filled with nails was found near the body, SVT said.

Neither the police nor the intelligence service have confirmed the SVT report.

The Aftonbladet newspaper quoted a source as saying that the man was carrying six pipebombs, of which only one exploded.

"I cannot confirm that the death is linked to the explosion of the car but I cannot deny it either," Petra Sjolander, a police spokeswoman, said.

Soon after the blasts, the Swedish news agency TT said it had received an email warning with a threat to Sweden and its people ahead of the explosions.

It said the threat was linked to Sweden's presence in Afghanistan, where it has a force of 500 soldiers,  and referred to caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by Lars Vilks, a Swedish artist.

"There was no direct threat directed to any specific event or explosion ... it was directed in general to Sweden and to the Swedish people," Mats Johansson, the managing editor of the TT news agency, told Al Jazeera.

"There is no confirmation that the content of the mail has anything to do with these explosions."

Threat received

TT said that messages in Arabic and Swedish were received about 10 minutes before the first explosion.

"Our acts will speak for themselves," TT quoted the message as saying. "Now your children, your daughters and your sisters will die as our brothers, our sisters and our children are dying."

The message concluded by urging "mujahidin" to rise up in Sweden and in Europe, the news agency said.

The message was also sent to Sweden's Security Police.

Vilks, who depicted the Prophet Mohammed with the body of a dog in a cartoon in 2007, has been the target of previous attacks.

In March, an US citizen who called herself "JihadJane" was charged with plotting to kill the cartoonist. In May, arsonists tried to set fire to his house.

Sweden raised its threat alert level from low to elevated in October because of "a shift in activities" among Swedish-based groups that it was said could be plotting attacks there.

The security police said then that the threat remained low compared to that in other European countries, and no attack was imminent.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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