Last week on a weekday night, an explosion occurred in the Stockholm neighborhood of Hässelby Villastad while I was sitting in my living room and about to send a text message.
I was typing when the front windows started to shake violently, making me think they could break. I immediately stopped typing.
I went upstairs to make sure my daughter was alright, and she emerged from her room with a puzzled expression.
“I believe it was an explosive device,” I stated, amidst the blaring sirens of emergency vehicles echoing through the night.
I am not knowledgeable in identifying the sound of bombs, but there have been two bomb attacks in this specific area of the city this year. Therefore, it was likely that this was the third one.
In January, the initial explosion created a hole the size of a football in an apartment building close to my usual cycling route. According to reports from local media, four individuals were apprehended after the incident.
In March, the second incident caused severe damage to a row of wooden terraced houses located behind my son’s secondary school, displacing them from their foundations. In the aftermath of this attack, six individuals were detained.
The explosive device was in even closer proximity to my residence.
I saw the apartment building that was targeted on my way to the nearby store in photos on Swedish news websites. There is currently no information about any arrests in connection with the incident.
I witnessed individuals traversing shattered glass and being relocated to a nearby elementary school. Three individuals were transported to the hospital.
The initial disagreement within competing drug organizations has escalated into a cycle of retaliation, with members resorting to bombing the residences of their rivals’ loved ones after failed attempts to eliminate each other.
The individuals in this family, including parents, siblings, and cousins, are spread out throughout Stockholm and the central southeast region of Sweden. This adds to the perception that the attacks were random.
A few hours following the assault on the residential building in Hässelby, an explosion destroyed the front walls of an apartment in Linköping, a town located 200 km south.
Several days after, a 25-year-old female was fatally injured in Uppsala, which is located 70 km north of the main city of Sweden. The cause of death was due to an explosive device that was mistakenly placed in front of the incorrect residence.
The surge in brutality has been incredibly severe and widespread, with chaotic implementation. Inexperienced teenage boys are frequently enlisted to execute these attacks, leading to a growing feeling that nobody is immune to the danger.
In the current year, there have been 134 instances of bomb attacks in Sweden, an increase from 90 in the entire year of 2022. Additionally, there have been 289 shootings thus far and 391 in the year 2022, in a nation with a population of 10 million, making it considerably higher compared to other European countries.
On a recent occasion, a male youth was fatally shot near a soccer field in the southern area of Stockholm while numerous young kids were engaged in training. The coach took action by directing approximately 60 children to a distant area of the field to protect them from potential stray bullets. Currently, there is no information on any arrests made in connection with the incident.
The coach informed national broadcaster SVT that the team was extremely distressed and frightened.
On Thursday night, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson delivered a unique address to the public that was aired live on national TV. It appeared to be an effort to showcase his involvement in the matter.
The leader aimed to describe the steps his administration will take to address the issue of violence by increasing police resources, imposing longer sentences for convicted criminals, and granting new surveillance powers. He has also suggested the possibility of involving the military after 11 gang-related deaths occurred in September.
However, he was also forced to recognize the severity of the situation, both in terms of historical significance and in comparison to nearby states.
He stated that Sweden has never witnessed a situation like this before, and that no other European country is experiencing something similar.
Kristersson, leader of the center-right Moderate Party, won a tight election last fall on a promise to crack down on crime after what he has sought to cast as years of failure by his “naive” predecessors, the Social Democrats.
Kristersson, supported by the far-right Sweden Democrats, has attempted to connect the increase in violent crime to the large influx of immigration and what he referred to as inadequate integration efforts.
Kristersson’s failure to make strides in reducing violent crime is eroding trust in his understanding of the issue and his capability to bring about change. Surveys indicate an increase in popularity for the Social Democrats and a plateau in popularity for the Moderates.
The Swedish government has not yet been able to hold Rawa Majid, the country’s most well-known gang leader, accountable for his actions. He is still able to operate with apparent immunity from Turkey, where he was recently given citizenship.
It is believed that a conflict between Majid and his former partner Ismail Abdo is the primary cause of the recent outbreaks of violence in Stockholm.
Residents had gathered in a group outside the apartment block in Hässelby the morning after the bombing, appearing to be in a state of shock as they stood by the police perimeter.
A man, who preferred to remain anonymous, shared that he had grown up in the building. He returned to witness the destruction as he couldn’t fathom that the attack took place in his childhood home.
A woman, who wished to remain anonymous, shared with a local radio station that she was unsure of how she escaped from her house following the explosion. She also expressed uncertainty about where she would be staying for the upcoming night.
In the following days, the shattered glass was cleared and pieces of wood were used to cover the damaged window frames.
However, on Monday morning, there was once again smoke coming from Hässelby due to a detonation that occurred at 6:28 a.m. in a terraced house, causing a significant fire.
The location was connected to a male individual who has been charged with a shooting in a southern neighborhood last week due to gang affiliation.
The fourth explosion of the year.
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