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FBI-report: Stockholm suicide bomber did not act alone

The bomb used by the 2010 Stockholm suicide bomber was more advanced than previously revealed. Information in a secret FBI-report, contradicts the view that he acted alone, Swedish Television News reports.

When the investigation into the terror bomb in central Stockholm 2010 was presented last year, it described the suicide bomber, Taimour Abdulwahab, as a lone-wolf. He was someone who acted on his own, finding instructions on how to build the bombs in an online magazine connected to al-Qaida.

The description in the magazine, fit “exactly” with “the bombs that Taimour Abdulwahab carried on his body and that was placed in the car”, said prosecutor Agneta Hilding Qvarnström at the press conference in October 2014.

But in a secret report from the FBI, Swedish Television News’  investigative programme Uppdrag Granskning, has found information that the bombs were very advanced and that Abdulwahab must have had help or been trained how to put the bombs together.

The report describes how the construction of the bombs was “sophisticated” and “fully functioning” and built in a way “previously unknown to the FBI”, with double and triple links to the explosives in order to “maximise the chance that the bombs would explode”.

According to Uppdrag Granskning, there is no information in the al-Qaida magazine about such advanced constructions, which leads the reporters to conclude that Taimour Abdulwahab cannot have learnt how to build the bombs from just reading the online magazine.

Uppdrag Granskning reports that the secret FBI-report was known to the Swedish intelligence service Säpo as well as prosecutor Hilding Qvarnström. The Swedish investigators on the case asked for help from the American intelligence service only a few days after the attack, but when the report was handed over, Säpo decided to classify it as strictly secret.

Asked by Uppdrag Granskning why the information in the FBI-report was not mentioned at last year’s  press conference, prosecutor Hilding Qvarnström said there were a lot of things they did not mention.

“I cannot tell you why we did not mention this. I simply did not think about it. There are probably other things that we should have told that we did not remember to say,” she told SVT.

The reporter puts it to her, that it is not a question of remembering, it is more the case that the report contradicts the image they gave of the bomb as a DIY-job put together by a lone perpetrator.

“I don’t think the one contradicts the other. You may think so. But I don’t,” she said.

A Swedish explosives experts, however, disagrees with the FBI’s assertion. Henric Östmark told newspaper Svenska Dagbladet that his investigation shows the bombs were made by an amateur.

He said he was able to reconstruct copies of the bombs that were employed by Abdulwahab.

“The charges were amateurishly constructed which is also shown in that they did not work, none of the charges worked as intended,” he told the newspaper. “There was no advanced technology involved and there were many errors made in his construction.”

Terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp, at the Swedish Defence University, told SVT Uppdrag Granskning that he finds it “strange” that the information was not revealed earlier.

“The prosecutor has tried to vacuum pack these incidents so they only concern Sweden and a lone perpetrator. But they have chosen to not talk about this information that contradicts that, which I find strange and basically misleading,” he told SVT.

Two bombs exploded in the terror attack in central Stockholm in December 2010. One was placed on Taimour Abdelwahab, another one was in a car a few blocks away. The bombs caused substantial damage, but killed only the suicide bomber himself.