British police search home of alleged Swedish suicide bomber

13th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

British police searched a house in southeast England on Monday which is thought to be the home of an alleged suicide bomber who blew himself up in Stockholm at the weekend.

A police cordon surrounded the neat-looking terraced house in Luton, a town with a large immigrant population to the north of London where Taymour Abdel Wahab lived, apparently with a wife and three children.

An Islamist website called Shoumoukh al-Islam named him as the suicide attacker and published a photograph showing a man with stubble and wearing a jacket and white shirt.

British police said no arrests had been made and no "hazardous materials" had been found.

Press reports said neighbours last saw him at the house two weeks ago.

"I used to see him around often. He didn't say much but seemed nice. I used to see him walking with his kids," said Tahir Hussain, 33, a taxi driver in the town.

"I was shocked when I heard what happened because I never thought he could do such a thing."

Wahab was reportedly born in Iraq before moving to Sweden in 1992. In 2001 he moved to Britain to study sports therapy at the University of Bedfordshire from 2001 to 2004, but had been working recently at a carpet shop.

Many reports said he had been in the process of looking for a second wife on an Internet dating site, describing himself as "very religious" and saying that he was considering moving to an Arabic-speaking country in the future.

British police are said to be investigating reports that he was radicalised at the university.

The town of Luton has been a focal point of clashes between Islamic extremists and far-right extremists in recent years.

In 2009, the town fell under the spotlight when Muslim extremists demonstrated at a homecoming march for British soldiers returning from Afghanistan, holding placards calling them: "Anglian Soldiers: Butchers of Basra" and "Anglian Soldiers: cowards, killers, extremists".

In 2005, the four suicide bombers who killed 52 people on London's transport system met up at Luton to make their way into the capital.

The town has recently become a centre of activity for the anti-immigrant far-right English Defence League.

A spokesman for London's Metropolitan Police confirmed a search was under way at the house: "Officers executed a search warrant under the Terrorism Act 2000 at an address in Bedfordshire."

"We are confirming that this is in connection with the incident in Stockholm," added the spokesman.

Saturday's explosions came as Christmas shoppers crowded in a busy pedestrian quarter of the Swedish capital.

The man believed to be Wahab was killed in one blast, while a car bomb exploded nearby and injured two people.

The website that named him as the perpetrator of the attack said: "It is our brother, mujahid Taymour Abdel Wahab, who carried out the martyrdom operation in Stockholm."

© 2010 AFP

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