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Last-minute malfunction contained damage from bomb in central Stockholm.
Sweden has 500 soldiers within NATO's U.S.-led International Security Assistance force (ISAF) in Afghanistan. In November the Swedish center-right government struck a deal with the two big opposition parties, the Social Democrats and the Green Party, to continue the military presence until the end of 2014. Six Swedish soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since 2005. The Swedish presence is a hot domestic political issue.
The controversial Muhammad cartoons that rocked the world were published by Denmark’s leading daily Jyllands-Posten on Sept. 30, 2005, and caused protests and riots in Asia and Africa. Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks was also a target and received several death threats following his controversial drawing of the Prophet Muhammad as a so-called roundabout dog. In Sweden it is popular to place pictures of dogs in roundabouts.
The 28-year-old suspected suicide bomber would have turned 29 the day after the attack. He lived three hours south of Stockholm, Swedish media reported. His family is shocked. “He is my only son and the entire family is in shock. Friday he was home but after he woke up Saturday morning he took his car and drove off. He did not say if he was going to Stockholm or elsewhere,” the 28-year-old’s father told Swedish media.
A witness told Swedish tabloid Expressen that the suicide bomber worked placing store signs at Drottninggatan. “I am 95 percent sure that it was the man who worked as sign carrier. I have seen him here for three years,” the witness said. Next to the killed man was a sign with the text “Fish and chips.”
The 28-year-old’s Facebook page included a profile picture of two people, one of them carrying a black Al Qaeda flag. The page also ran violent YouTube clips of a man dying. He also posted pictures of himself from a trip to Jordan the spring of 2010.
In accordance with Scandinavian customs, the police seldom release any information about any suspects but the suicide bomber's identity was published on various blogs and in British media. The police also blocked off the 28-year-old’s address in south Sweden, which drew attention from the neighbors, who called media.
His family received threats online and Swedish police considered various safety measures Sunday night. “Some kind of security is under consideration but I can not mention what kind,” said Nils Erik Eriksson at the Jonkoping Police Department in south Sweden.