Further explosions linked to the ongoing gang warfare in the Swedish capital of Stockholm detonated in the early hours of Monday, as local residents reported feeling the blast from several kilometers away.
The first explosion occurred shortly after 4 a.m. in Huddinge, a municipality in Stockholm County, which led to substantial damage to the roof and windows of a townhouse complex, resulting in the residents being evacuated.
A police statement revealed that no one had been seriously injured in the blast, and a bomb squad was investigating the crime scene to ascertain further details about potential motive.
“We are looking at why it has detonated and whether there are connections to previous crimes,” said police spokesperson Mats Eriksson.
A second, larger blast was reported hours later at 6.30 a.m. in Hässelby, a borough in western Stockholm, at a terraced property believed by police to belong to a gang member arrested last Wednesday on suspicion of murder in relation to a gang drive-by in Jordbro, Stockholm County, which saw two people shot, leaving one dead.
The explosion led to a full-fledged fire, according to Roger Sverndal, management operator at the Stockholm rescue service, with five terraced houses out of a row of eight properties suffering damage. Firemen had to saw open the roofs of the terraced buildings to prevent further spread.
That home is completely destroyed,” Sverndal said of the property in which the explosion originated. “Now, we are trying to limit the spread, but the fire is still not under control.”
“We have not arrested anyone. Now we are talking to witnesses,” said police spokesperson Daniel Wikdahl. “In this type of case, there is almost always a connection to other serious crimes,” he added.
Several local residents described the ferocity of the blast to Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet.
“It was very powerful, it was impossible to miss. It sounded roughly as if a large container had come crashing down from a great height,” said one resident, who revealed his parents had felt their bed vibrate at their own home which is “two, three kilometers away.”
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“It thundered, and the windows rattled. I immediately suspected it was a bomb. It’s becoming normal now,” added another.
Therese Lagerman, a 57-year-old resident went on the record to describe how she was thrown around one meter by the “pressure wave” of the blast and explained that increasingly violent gang-related crime is now affecting the everyday lives of innocent people.
“It’s terrible now; you get angry and pissed off. It has crept so unbelievably close now,” she told the newspaper.
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.
The country is currently three bombings shy of a record year with three months still to go after police recorded 130 explosions in the country so far in 2023.
After 11 people were murdered in gang-related attacks in September, a record month, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson addressed the nation to announce he was considering the deployment of Sweden’s armed forces to combat the increasing danger posed by organized crime gangs wreaking havoc on city streets.
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“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,” he said.
The Scandinavian country is now 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 leading criminologist Ardavan Khoshnood.
“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.