Suicide bomber set off explosives early ‘after tripping up’
Sweden's first suicide bomber carried three bombs, one of which may have detonated by accident when he stumbled en route to his probable target, a crowded railway station.
Prosecutors in Stockholm disclosed details of what they described as Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly's plan of attack as it emerged that he had sent a series of emails declaring jihad.
He had done so due to the |presence of Swedish troops in Afghanistan and cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed published in the country.
Security sources said no evidence has emerged that the 28-year-old Iraqi, who lived in Luton for the past decade, was representing a large group in carrying out his mission.
However, he made trips to the Middle East and South Asia, including Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. These are being investigated to ascertain if he had terrorist connections in those places.
In Stockholm, prosecutor Tomas Lindstrand, said: “It isn't a too daring guess to say he was on his way to a place where there were as many people as possible, maybe the central station.”
Al-Abdaly, a graduate of Bedfordshire University, left his wife and three children at their family home in Luton to travel to |Sweden several weeks ago.
Swedish investigators said |he visited his family in Tranas where his father was celebrating his birthday.
But on Saturday he loaded his white Audi with gas canisters and travelled to Stockholm in a bid to wreak carnage on streets packed with Christmas shoppers.
Evidence from the scene indicated the car failed to explode and al-Abdaly was killed about 300 metres away when explosives strapped to his chest detonated.
Police suspect the device may have exploded prematurely as the terrorist walked to a nearby subway station or department store.
Religious leaders said al-Abdaly was driven out of the Luton Islamic Centre for preaching about suicide bombings and attempting to recruit extremists.
Centre chairman Qadeer Baksh said his teachings were “alien to Islam” and he was challenged by senior members of the mosque.
He described how al-Abdaly argued with leaders and may have been “playing a game” to get access to the wider congregation.
Mr Baksh said: “The community did not know that he would take it so far as to then sew the seeds of discord and extremism.”
Officers from Scotland Yard's Counter Terrorism Command were continuing to search al-Abdaly's rented three-bedroom home in Argyll Avenue, Luton.
His beauty stylist wife Mona told reporters she had no idea of his plans and was “devastated” as she was bundled out of the property in the early hours.