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British Police Join Probe Of Stockholm Blasts


Police forensics experts examine the remains of a suspected suicide bomber in Stockholm.

British police say they have searched a property in Britain in connection with the investigation into the suspected suicide bombing and car explosion in Sweden that killed one man and injured two other people.

Police said a search warrant was executed late December 12 at a property in Bedfordshire, east England, under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Police said no arrests were made during the search, and no hazardous materials were found at the property.

The search followed the bombings December 11 in Stockholm, in which a man died and two people were injured in a possible suicide explosion.

Unconfirmed reports say the man killed by the blast was an Iraqi-born Swede who had studied and lived in Luton, in Bedforshire, north of London.

Swedish police say they are treating the Stockholm blasts as an act of terrorism, but investigators have not yet said whether they believe the attack was motivated by extremist Islamist views.

Anders Thornberg, head of the security unit of the domestic intelligence agency SAPO, said his agency was investigating an e-mail sent about 10 minutes before the blasts to the country's security service and the TT news agency.

"The mail was about one man. He was not satisfied with the development in Sweden regarding that we have military troops in other countries, that there has been said bad things about the Prophet, and so on," he said.

"But we're still analyzing this mail, so it's too early to say anything more."

TT quoted the message as threatening unspecified "action," referring to Sweden's soldiers in Afghanistan.

Around 500 Swedish troops are stationed in the country as part of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force. Their mandate only runs to January 1, 2011, and would need to be renewed by parliament for them to stay on.

The message also attacked the country for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad drawn by Swedish cartoonist Lars Vilks. He has been the object of death threats and at least one plot to kill him over a drawing depicting the Prophet as a dog.

The e-mail said punitive actions would continue "as long as you do not stop your war against Islam, your degradation of the Prophet, and your stupid support for the pig Vilks."

No New Threat

Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said the government would stand up for "an open society" and democracy. He also warned against "speculation," saying there was a "risk it creates tension."

Sweden raised its terror-threat-alert level in October to three on an alert scale of five, because of "a shift in activities" among Swedish-based groups that could be plotting attacks in the Scandinavian country.

But Thornberg said the terror-threat alert was not being raised.

"Our judgment at present is that what happened doesn't change the current security threat level in Sweden," he said. "But we will continue to assess the situation to see what has happened means."

In a statement, the imam of Stockholm's grand mosque, Sheikh Hassan Mussa, condemned the bombing, and he deplored "all forms of attacks, violence, fears, and threats against innocent people, whatever the motive or pretext."

compiled from agency reports