Middle Eastern sectarian conflicts were once again being played out on European streets yesterday, as a bomb ripped through a Turkish cultural centre in Sweden days after a man was shot at a pro-Kurdish demonstration in the same district.
No one was injured in the blast in the Swedish capital, which took place at around 9.30pm after police and the national bomb squad were alerted to an “imminent danger of explosion” at 1.20pm, Aftonbladet reports.
The attack occurred in the southwestern Fittja neighbourhood of Stockholm, where a man was shot earlier in the week at a pro-Kurdish rally. It hit the Turkish Cultural Association of Botkyrka, the name of the local municipality.
“The windows were blown out and smoke was escaping from the premises,” police said in a statement, confirming that no one was hurt.
The Deputy Prime Minister, Numan Kurtulmus, said the explosion had been caused by a car bomb and seven prosecutors had been assigned to investigate the “well-planned” attack.
Noone hurt, noone inside when explosion happened. Pics from Turkish culture center south Stockholm tonight pic.twitter.com/UxpIMiyjEI
— Tore (@potifar66) February 17, 2016
A Turkish security official said “early signs” indicated the attack had been carried out by the militant Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK), but no other source has confirmed this.
Turkey has recently escalated attacks on Kurdish nationalist groups and positions in both Eastern Turkey and Northern Syria, and on the very day of the attack in Sweden 28 people were killed in a bomb attack in the Turkish capital.
After the Kurdish man was shot and seriously wounded in the same district four days ago, Police official Lars Byström told public television that it had been a “mistake” to allow protesters to pass underneath the windows of the Turkish association at a time of heightened tensions between the two communities.
Kurdish protestors stormed the Conservative Party headquarters (CCHQ) in Westminster here in the UK at the beginning of January, demanding the British government distance themselves from Turkey as they ramped up their campaign against the Kurds.
In September last year, the last time tensions peaked in Turkey, there was a wave of bloody violence between Kurds and Turks on European streets. Dozens were arrested and a bomb throw in Stockholm, Sweden; clubs, bottles and stones were used on the streets of Frankfurt, Germany; and two people died in Bern, Switzerland as the two ethnic groups “went to war”.