Blast tears through Gothenburg apartment block, injuring 16

image source, Reutersimage caption, Police say it was likely an explosive device was left at the scene

At least 16 people were injured, four seriously, after an explosion tore through an apartment block in the Swedish city of Gothenburg.

Residents had to be evacuated from windows and balconies as a fire afterwards spread through the building.

Police are investigating the early morning blast and suspect it may have been a deliberate attack.

Sweden has seen a surge in gang-related crime in recent years, with firearms and explosives used to settle scores.

One resident, Anja Almen, told Reuters she heard a commotion from the street at just after 05:00 (03:00 GMT).

"I went out on the balcony and I was shocked. There was smoke everywhere, from every stairwell," she said by phone from a nearby church to which she and other tenants were evacuated.

"Fire trucks with ladders were pulling people from apartments."

Police spokesman Thomas Fuxborg told a news conference that they believed a device had "probably" been placed at the site of the blast.

"We believe something has exploded that is not of natural causes," he said.

In 2020, police recorded 107 detonations nationwide and a further 102 attempted or prepared detonations, the AFP reports.

The Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention last year said the country – with a population of 10 million – had gone from having one of the lowest levels of fatal shootings in Europe to having one of the highest.

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