British police search address linked to Sweden bombings

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Police in Britain said Monday they were searching a property in connection with the weekend bombings in Sweden, amid reports that a man linked to the attacks used to live in the country.

Officers from London's Metropolitan Police began the search just before 11:00 pm (2300 GMT) Sunday, said a force spokesman, in the wake of the twin blasts in Stockholm which killed one person.

"Officers executed a search warrant under the Terrorism Act 2000 at an address in Bedfordshire. There have been no arrests," said the spokesman.

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

The search came as press reports suggested that a man who had studied and lived in Luton, Bedfordshire, north of London, was behind Saturday's blasts.

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

A man Swedish investigators suspect may have been the bomber was killed in the blasts, while a separate explosion nearby injured two people.

Islamist website Shumukh al-Islam named Taymour Abdel Wahab as the man responsible for the explosions, which Sweden has said it is probing as a "terrorist crime."

The site said: "It is our brother, mujahid Taymour Abdel Wahab, who carried out the martyrdom operation in Stockholm."

Sweden's intelligence agency Saepo has refused to confirm or deny that the man identified by the website was the bomber.

But British media reported that he studied at the University of Bedfordshire in Luton, around 30 miles (50 kilometres) north of London, and had continued living in the town in recent years.

The wife and children of Taymour Abdel Wahab -- said to be in his late 20s -- were reportedly still living in Luton, The Daily Mail and The Daily Telegraph reported.

"I used to see him around often. He didn't say much but seemed nice. I used to see him walking with his kids," Tahir Hussain, 33, a local taxi driver told The Telegraph.

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

Britain's Home Office, or interior ministry, refused to comment on the reports.

"We remain in close contact with the Swedish authorities," a spokeswoman told AFP. "It would be inappropriate to comment on an ongoing investigation at this time."

Sweden on Sunday said it was investigating the blasts as a "terrorist crime." Anders Thornberg, head of the security unit of domestic intelligence Saepo, said: "We suspect that it was a suicide attack."

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, a 23-year-old Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a plane as it approached Detroit on Christmas Day last year, had also spent time in Britain, studying mechanical engineering at University College London.

© 2010 AFP

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