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Germany condemns bomb attacks in Stockholm

Germany's Foreign Ministry has issued a statement condemning bomb attacks that occurred in Stockholm on Saturday. Swedish authorities designated the two explosions, which killed one person, as "terrorist crimes."

Firefighter sprays down burning car

The attacks took place in a busy Stockholm shopping area

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has condemned the bomb attacks that hit a Stockholm shopping area on Saturday, killing one man and leaving two other people injured.

"Attacks such as this make it clear that we cannot relax our engagement against terrorism," he said in a statement on Sunday.

On Saturday afternoon, a car blew up in a busy shopping area in the Swedish capital, followed minutes later by a second explosion nearby. Authorities have said the suspected bomber may have been killed in the attack.

The blasts came shortly after an e-mail was sent to Swedish news agency TT, saying they were in retaliation for Sweden's presence in Afghanistan and caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad drawn several years ago by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. TT added that a similar message had been sent to Sweden's domestic intelligence agency, Saepo.

"Our acts will speak for themselves," TT quoted the message as saying. "Now your children, your daughters and your sisters will die as our brothers, our sisters and our children are dying."

Sweden has 500 soldiers serving in Afghanistan, mainly in the north of the country.

Failed terrorist attack

Sweden's Foreign Minister Carl Bildt

Bildt said the attacks could have been 'catastrophic'

Swedish authorities Sunday designated the bombing as a terrorist attack, though stopped short of calling it a suicide attack. If it is confirmed as a suicide attack, it would be the first in Sweden.

"We are opening an investigation into a terrorist crime under Swedish laws," Anders Thornberg, head of the security unit at Saepo, said at a press conference.

"We regard this as very serious," Thornberg added. "We are taking all precautions."

Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said the attack had been a terrorist incident. "Failed, but could have been truly catastrophic," he wrote in a Twitter message.

Scenes of panic

The first blast left two people needing hospital treatment for minor injuries, according to emergency services spokesman Bengt Norberg. Two minutes later a second explosion was reported 200 meters (650 feet) away, with a man found dead at the scene, Norberg added.

Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter reported scenes of panic among shoppers amid smoke and the smell of explosives.

The Islamic Association in Sweden has condemned the blasts. "The attack is a shock to us all, and strikes at our joint peace and security," said Chairman Omar Mustafa in a statement.

The imam of the Stockholm Grand Mosque on Sunday also spoke out against the attack. In a statement sent to TT, Sheik Hassan Mussa said he deplored "all forms of attacks, violence fears and threats against innocent people, whatever the motive or pretext."

Police forensics expert at the scene of an explosion in Stockholm

The alleged bomber is said to have died in the attacks

Alleged bomber identified

Online forums, including a Yemeni Islamist website linked to al Qaeda, have indentified the alleged bomber as Taymour Abdulwahab Al-Abdaly.

A post on a Muslim dating website showed Abdaly was born in Baghdad and moved to Sweden in 1992, and that he studied at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, England, which has a large Muslim community.

Late Sunday, British police raided a property in Bedfordshire as part of a probe into the attacks. No arrests were made.

"As far as we know, it looks like he was working for himself, but we have to be really sure so we are investigating whether there could be more perpetrators," Thornberg told the Reuters news agency. Saepo, however, has refused to confirm the identity of the alleged bomber.

Sweden has not raised its security threat level, but police have increased their presence in Stockholm. Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt urged Swedes to remain calm and not let their belief in tolerance and openness be shaken.

Author: Andreas Illmer, Gabriel Borrud, Martin Kuebler (dpa, AFP, Reuters)

Editor: Ben Knight

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