December 13th, 2010 15:13 EST
Headline News: First Suicide Bombing in Swedish History
Swedish police are increasingly certain that the perpetrator of a suicide bomb attack in downtown Stockholm on Saturday was Taimour al-Abdaly, a 28-year-old Iraqi immigrant who had studied in Britain.
Abdaly reportedly sent a warning to a Swedish news agency shortly before the blast, in which he cited the presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan and a Swedish cartoonist who had depicted the Prophet Muhammad as the reason for his actions.
The first of Saturday`s bombings originated from a parked car, while the second was from explosives strapped to the bomber`s body. No one, besides the bomber, was killed in the explosions, despite the fact that they took place near a crowded shopping street. Police speculate that the bomb may have gone off before the bomber could reach his intended target.
Police in Bedforshire, England, where Abdaly had gone to study sports medicine until 2004 according to his Facebook profile, searched a property where he is believed to have lived. According to a profile on an Islamic dating site, Abdaly moved to Sweden with his family in 1992.
The attack, believed to be the first suicide bombing in Swedish history, has stunned a country proud of its open and tolerant image. Lars Vilks, the cartoonist mentioned in Abdaly`s message, has been repeatedly threatened with death since his images were published in 2007.
Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt urged Swedes not to jump to conclusions or succumb to a backlash against Sweden`s immigrant population. "Our democracy functions well,"he said. "Those who feel frustration or anger have the opportunity to express it without resorting to violence."
By Foreign Policy Magazine