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In Sweden, 2 explosions rip through dwellings and at least 1 is reportedly connected to a gang feud

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Two powerful explosions ripped through dwellings in central Sweden overnight, injuring at least three people and damaging buildings, with bricks and window sections left spread outside.

Late on Monday, an explosion occurred in Hasselby, a suburb of the capital, Stockholm. In the early hours of Tuesday, a blast in Linkoping, some 175 kilometers (110 miles) to the southwest, ripped the facade off a three-story building, leaving debris strewn across a parking area.

It was not known whether the blasts were related to each other.

Swedish newspaper Expressen said Tuesday that both explosions were connected to a feud between criminal gangs, a growing problem in Sweden with drive-by shootings and bombings. Two gangs — one led by a Swedish-Turkish dual national who lives in Turkey, the other by his former lieutenant — are reportedly fighting over drugs and weapons.

So far this year, there have been 261 shootings, killing 36 people and injuring 73.

Police said that residents in the affected area in Linkoping were evacuated to a nearby sports facility. In Hasselby, three people were taken to a hospital. Their conditions were not known.

No one was immediately arrested, police said.

Following the explosions, the Swedish government said it will hold a meeting to identify measures to fight the gang violence that can be quickly implemented. Sweden’s ministers for justice and civil defense, Gunnar Strömmer and Carl-Oskar Bohlin, will participate along with other authorities, including representatives of the Scandinavian country’s municipalities and regions.

“We are now bringing together all relevant actors to jointly identify what can be done in the short and long term,” Strömmer told Swedish news agency TT.

“The criminals’ access to explosive goods must be cut off,” Bohlin told the Expressen newspaper.

As of Sept. 15, there were 124 explosions in Sweden this year, according to police, with the highest number of explosions in a year at 133 in 2019.

Earlier this month, a 13-year-old boy was found shot in the head in woods not far from his home near Stockholm. A prosecutor said his death was a chilling example of “gross and completely reckless gang violence.”

On Sept. 22, two people were killed and two wounded when a gunman opened fire in a crowded bar northwest of Stockholm. One of the dead, a 20-year-old man, was the shooter's likely target, police said, while the other three were believed to be bystanders. The motive remained unclear. Police said the shooting could possibly have been part of a local personal conflict and there was some uncertainty whether it was connected to the ongoing gang feud.

Sweden’s center-right government has been tightening laws to tackle gang-related crime, while the head of Sweden’s police said earlier this month that warring gangs had brought an “unprecedented” wave of violence to the country.

 

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