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Police operation called off as gunmen escape

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13:51 CEST+02:00
Police have called off a major operation around a summer cottage north of Smålandsstenar in Småland after failing to find those responsible for gunfire aimed at a police patrol in Hyltebruk early on Tuesday morning.

According to several tips, one of the people who fired on a police patrol early on Tuesday may have been in the vicinity. However, but after several hours of scrutinising the tips, the police determined the cottage was empty.

"The building is empty," said press spokesman Göran Larsson.

Police in Jönköping county and Halland were assisted by the National Task Force (Nationella insatsstyrkan), a paramilitary tactical unit of the Swedish Police Service, in the operation.

In addition to the National Task Force, a special team was established for the operation.

The operation is linked to an incident early on Tuesday morning when a police patrol came under fire from an automatic weapon from a stolen Saab 9000 car in the neighbourhood of Hyltebruk in Halland, slightly south of Smålandsstenar.

Police officers had approached the car to do a routine check at 3am on Tuesday morning because the car had been reported as stolen. Before the patrol reached the driver, a suspect sprayed a salvo of bullets at the police car.

The bullets hit the car, but none of the policemen were hit. The car from which the shots were fired was later found burnt out in the area.

Police had received numerous tips, of which several suggested that a named person with a possible link to the shootings may be in the building where the police operation will be carried out.

The police did not know how many people are located on the property. Earlier, Larsson considered it unlikely that there was more than one person.

"They have demonstrated their dangerousness, so we have requested the help of the National Task Force," he said.

An ambulance and helicopter were on site, but as of shortly before 12:30pm, there had still been no crackdown.

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