Sweden bomber sought big targets; new threat made

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A Middle Eastern man killed in a blast in Stockholm was wearing a bomb belt and ready to attack a train station or department store when the device went off prematurely, Sweden’s chief prosecutor said yesterday.

Police were all but certain the attacker was Taymour Abdulwahab, who emigrated to Sweden in 1992 but mostly lived in Britain with his wife and two children.

A militant who first identified Abdulwahab in an online message that included his photograph on Sunday issued a new statement yesterday warning of more such attacks if Western troops did not withdraw from Afghanistan.

“The battle of Stockholm is the start of a new era in our jihad, when Europe will become the arena for our battles,” the Arabic-language message said, according to a translation by Flashpoint Partners, a US-based service that tracks publications by militant groups.

The message, also monitored by another Islamist militant monitoring service, the Site Intelligence Group, added: “Those who insist on not heeding our demands must expect our attacks, which will reach the heart of Europe.”

There was no way of independently confirming that the speaker had links to Abdulwahab but intelligence services were expected to study it for clues about ties to a militant network.

If he was, such a group could be plotting other bombings.
Interviews with people who knew him painted a portrait of a bubbly, fun-loving man who became increasingly radical in his views in Britain, and fell out with a local mosque there in 2007 over his extreme political opinions.

The attack, the first of its kind in Sweden, has heightened fears about attacks in Europe during the Christmas holidays.

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