Swedish police arrest 3 in bombings amid increase in gang violence

Swedish police have arrested three suspects in connection with multiple bomb blasts over the weekend, explosions that reflect a wider trend of attacks by criminal gangs over the past year, according to reports.

The first of the explosions took place in an apartment block in the southern city of Malmö, followed by another that destroyed property and cars in Växjö, and a third in Landvetter, near Gothenburg, Aftonbladet reported.

May of the bomb attacks have taken place in and around the port city of Malmö in southern Sweden. 

May of the bomb attacks have taken place in and around the port city of Malmö in southern Sweden.  (iStock)

Sweden’s national bomb squad has responded to around 100 explosions so far in 2019, more than twice the number that took place over the same period last year, The Guardian reported.

“There are 10 million people in Sweden and I have not found the equivalent of this level of explosions in any industrialized country,” bomb squad analyst Ylva Ehrlin told Sweden’s Sveriges Television (SVT).

“It’s very serious, a social problem," Ehrlin told the TT news agency. "We not only must find the explosives and tools but uncover the cause.”

Nearly a third of the blasts have taken place in Malmö, a city beset by increased gun and bomb attacks in recent years. Right-wing politicians have blamed the violence on the influx of immigrants after the 2015 migration crisis.

No fatalities were reported in the weekend’s string of bombings, but the risk of deaths was very high, Ehrlin said. Experts cited by SVT said the majority of bombings are the result of feuds between rival gangs.

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Official figures also show the number of fatal shootings per year has doubled over the past two decades. To combat the violence, the government has introduced a 34-point plan that will give authorities more leeway to search homes and obtain encrypted phone messages, The Guardian reported.