Bomb in Swedish apartment block ‘targeted witness in gang trial’

Sixteen people have been injured in Gothenburg after a suspected bomb attack on an apartment block housing a resident who reportedly stood as a witness in a series of high-profile gang cases.

The powerful blast rocked through the building shortly before dawn on Tuesday. Police currently believe that the blast was caused by a single bomb placed inside a doorway.

At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Stefan Löfven, the prime minister, said that the "deplorable", "terrible" attack could be a reaction to an ongoing police campaign, which he said had put around 1,000 suspected criminals behind bars.  

"The Swedish Police Authority themselves say that with this offensive we launched a while ago against organised crime, we can expect the criminals to try to hit back," he said.

Sweden has seen the sharpest rise in gang crime in Europe over the past decade, with its rate of lethal shootings climbing over the past two decades from one of the lowest in the region to one of the highest, with about four deaths per million inhabitants per year.

Around 20 people were taken to hospital

Credit: BJORN LARSSON ROSVALL/TT/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

The country’s interior minister, Mikael Damberg, said the government was now pushing through a string of new laws aimed at better protecting witnesses.

"The government has put an extremely big focus on breaking the culture of omerta in Sweden," he said.

Of the 16 people who were taken in for treatment, four remained seriously injured on Tuesday afternoon, a spokesperson for the city’s Sahlgrenska Hospital said.

One of the residents, who has been a witness in a string of recent high profile gang cases, was interviewed by police on Tuesday morning, according to Sweden’s Aftonbladet tabloid.  

But Stefan Gustafsson, a spokesperson with the local police, told the newspaper that it was too early to centre on a single intended victim.

"We are not pinpointing any single individual," he said. "This happened at a building where very many people live, so it’s still an open question whether it was aimed at one or more people."

Thomas Fuxborg, police press spokesperson said that once the fire services had finished making the buildings safe, police would begin investigating the crime scene, with case filed under, "Causing major damage which is a danger the public".

Police on Tuesday afternoon were still not ruling out the possibility that the explosion was caused by a gas leak. 
 

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