Stockholm bomber aimed for major targets: Prosecutor

A Middle East-born man who died in a blast in Stockholm was wearing an explosives belt.

Last Updated: Dec 13, 2010, 19:39 PM IST

Stockholm: A Middle East-born man who died in a blast in Stockholm was wearing an explosives belt and likely intended to attack a crowded train station or department store when the device went off prematurely, an official said.

Sweden`s chief prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand told a news conference on Monday the man had been well equipped with explosives, including the belt, and he assumed the man had accomplices as the attack was well planned.

"If it had all exploded at the same time it could have caused very serious damage," Lindstrand said.

A car containing gas canisters blew up in a busy shopping area on Saturday afternoon followed minutes later by a blast nearby which killed the bomber and injured two people.

"It is not a very wild guess that he was headed to some place where there were as many people as possible, perhaps the central station, perhaps (department store) Ahlens, Lindstrand said.

He said the man had been "98 percent identified," and replied "yes" when asked if it was Taymour Abdulwahab, who has been widely named in media reports.

He said Abdulwahab, born in 1981, became a Swedish citizen in 1992 and came from a Middle Eastern country, though it was unclear which. He had lived in Sweden and spent time in Britain.

Media reports said Abdulwahib came from Iraq.

British police were searching a house in Luton in southern England where Abdulwahab was reported to have spent time.

Shortly before the blasts, Swedish news agency TT received a threatening letter criticizing Sweden`s troops in Afghanistan, caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad drawn by a Swedish cartoonist and which spoke of a Middle East trip for "jihad."

The blasts follow several nervous months in Europe after a US travel alert about possible attacks by militants and a failed bid by a Yemen-based al Qaeda group to use air cargo to send parcel bombs via Europe to America.

The Stockholm incident began when a car burst into flames near an area busy with Christmas shoppers in the center of town, followed by explosions inside the car caused by gas canisters.

The second explosion was about 300 meters (yards) away and 10-15 minutes later, killing Abdulwahab and wounding two people.

Bureau Report