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TERRORISM

Bomber believed to be former sports student

Saturday’s suicide attack in Stockholm is believed to have been carried out by a 29-year-old man from the town of Tranås in southern Sweden.

The man was the registered owner of the car that blew up minutes before the suicide attack. He is reported to have worked on the street corner on which he died, carrying a sign advertising a local fish-and-chip restaurant, according to newspaper Expressen.

Police currently believe that the man’s bomb may have detonated too early. They are currently keen to trace a man who was seen speaking to the suspected bomber just minutes before his bomb went off.

Officially, police were saying on Saturday that they did not know the identity of the bomber. But a police source told the newspaper that they were “95 percent certain” that the car owner and the suicide bomber were the same person.

Police were on Sunday reported by Swedish Radio to be searching the suspected terrorist’s apartment in Tranås.

In a message to his family contained in an audio file sent to news agency TT on Saturday, the man referred to an earlier trip to the Middle East:

“I never went to the Middle East to work or earn money. I went there for Jihad,” he said.

A Facebook page believed to belong to the man indicated that he studied Sports Therapy at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, England, graduating in 2004. He had also posted numerous videos relating to the Iraq war, the war in Chechnya and the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay.

His favourite pages on Facebook included ‘Yawm al-Qiyaamah’, the Islamic ‘Day of Ressurection’. The page’s signature image features London’s Tower Bridge being engulfed in flames and floods. Another favourite page was ‘Islamic Caliphate State’.

The man is also thought to have been active on Muslim contact sites, where he claimed to be looking for a second wife. In one message on the site Muslima.com, he says that he was born in Iraq and moved to Sweden in 1992. He said he had two daughters, one aged 3 and one under the age of 2. He said he wanted to marry again and that his first wife had agreed to this.

“In the future, am looking for to move to an arabic [sic] country and settle down there,” he wrote.

Investigators will be certain to investigate the man’s connections with Luton, a town which has featured in numerous terror investigations in the past. A leaked British intelligence report from 2008 identified Luton, just north of London, as being home to one of the main concentrations of Islamic extremists in the country.

The men behind the 2005 bombings of London’s public transport system gathered in the town before heading into the British capital. The leader of the gang, Mohammed Sidique Khan, was in regular contact with a man in Luton known as ‘Q’, who was funneling money and equipment to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan.

BREAKING

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

Prosecutors in Sweden are now treating the murder at the Almedalen political festival as a terror crime, with the country's Säpo security police taking over the investigation.

Swedish prosecutors upgrade Almedalen knife attack to terror crime

In a press release issued on Monday evening, the Swedish Prosecution Authority, said that the 32-year-old attacker, Theodor Engström, was now suspected of the crime of “terrorism through murder”, and also “preparation for a terror crime through preparation for murder”. 

Engström stabbed the psychiatrist Ing-Marie Wieselgren last Wednesday as she was on her way to moderate a seminar at the Almedalen political festival on the island of Gotland. 

Although he was a former member of the neo-Nazi Nordic Resistance Movement, police said his motive seemed to be to protest against Sweden’s psychiatry services, who he felt had treated his own mental illness badly. 

The release gave no details as to why the 32-year-old was now being investigated for a more serious crime, but terror expert Magnus Ranstorp told the Expressen newspaper that the shift indicated that police had uncovered new evidence. 

READ ALSO: What do we now know about the Almedalen knife attack? 

“The new crime classification means that they’ve either found a political motive for the attack which meets the threshold for terrorism, and that might be a political motive for murdering Ing-Marie Wieselgren,” he said. “Or they might have discovered that he was scouting out a politician, or another target that could be considered political.” 

Engström’s defence lawyer said last week that his client, who he described as disturbed and incoherent, had spoken in police interrogations of having “a higher-up target”. 

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