Sweden is second only to Mexico as the top country in the world not currently at war to experience the most bombings on its territory, according to a leading criminologist.
Ardavan Khoshnood, a guest lecturer at Malmö University and senior fellow at Lund University, warned that the Scandinavian country has become the bombing capital of Europe.
“Sweden stands out completely,” he told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
“When my colleagues in Stockholm looked at this, they saw that Mexico is the only country in the world not at war that has more explosions than Sweden,” he added.
Sweden has been gripped by a surge in criminal gang warfare in multiple cities across the country, and authorities are facing an uphill battle to restore law and order.
It is a battle they are currently losing comprehensively, with 130 bombings recorded in the country so far this year, just three shy of the previous record year.
“With three months left in the year, the number of explosions is already at the same level as the record year 2019, when 133 detonations took place around Sweden. Comparable countries in our vicinity do not exist,” Khoshnood said.
He warned that those responsible for the explosions are becoming more sophisticated in their approach.
“We have moved toward more powerful explosive charges. Initially, it was about throwing hand grenades, now we see that they have moved on to explosives and more advanced detonations,” the leading criminologist explained.
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The situation in Sweden has deteriorated drastically in this month alone, with 11 fatal shootings reported and 11 detonated explosions across the country.
The latest bombing occurred on Thursday at a residential apartment in Uppsala, about an hour’s drive north of Stockholm. A 25-year-old woman with no gang affiliation died in the blast. Police believe the attack was targeting one of the victim’s neighbors who is understood to be an associate of 37-year-old Rawa Majid. Nicknamed the Kurdish Fox, Majid is engrossed in a power struggle for control of the notorious Foxtrot criminal gang operating in the country.
The practice of gang members using detonated explosions is a relatively recent phenomenon in Sweden and was virtually non-existent before the turn of the century. However, the rise of gang warfare in the country, coupled undeniably with large waves of mass immigration, saw reports of bombings sharply increase in the 2010s, leading the Crime Prevention Council to start recording statistics on the explosions in 2018.
Since that time, the number of explosions annually in the country has fluctuated between 79 and 133, according to the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper.
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The latest wave of violence to shake the country resulted in Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson addressing the nation on Thursday evening during which he blamed “political naivety” and “unsuccessful integration” as the main reasons for the ongoing crisis.
He lamented the rise in “gang crime and child soldiers” on Swedish streets and announced emergency talks with the head of the national police, Anders Thornberg, and Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Micael Bydén on Friday morning to discuss how the military could step in to assist the overpowered police force.
“Now, more and more children and completely innocent people are affected by the gross violence. I cannot emphasize enough how serious the situation is. Sweden has never seen anything like this before. No other country in Europe has seen anything like this,” the Swedish prime minister told the nation.