Man Wanted After Apartment Explosion in Gothenburg Leaves Over 20 Injured

A fireman is seen working at the site of an explosion in central Gothenburg on September 2
BJORN LARSSON ROSVALL/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images

A 55-year-old man is wanted in connection to an explosion at an apartment building in the Swedish city of Gothenburg that has left 23 people injured, four of them seriously.

The explosion took place in an apartment block located in the Annedal district of Gothenburg at around 5 am on Tuesday. Police officer Martin Hallberg said that fire and smoke developed in the stairwells. In total, three stairwells and several apartments that were linked to them were affected by the blast.

A large-scale police operation began on Thursday to locate a 55-year-old man who is the main suspect in the explosion, which is being considered as a bombing, newspaper Expressen reports.

According to media reports, the man was a resident in the building in an apartment belonging to his mother and was in the process of being evicted by the owner over the last several months.

The 55-year-old also has previous criminal convictions and was allegedly angry over Wuhan coronavirus pandemic restrictions that would not allow him to see his mother, who lives in a nursing home. He is also said to have harassed workers at the nursing home, accusing them of imprisoning her.

Expressen has also claimed that the man threatened to carry out another bombing on Thursday and that an address linked to the man had been raided by police.

Lotta Molander, emergency services operator, said shortly after the explosion, according to newspaper Aftonbladet: “There is a huge operation going on. It is a lifesaving operation in a hazardous and smoky environment.”

Thomas Fuxborg, press spokesman for the police in Gothenburg, later confirmed that police believed the explosion was not a natural occurrence. Indeed, the explosion was of such magnitude that the damage done is far greater than initially thought. Cracks have been discovered in walls and ceilings, knocked by the pressure blast of the bomb detonating.

Swedish media had initially published theories on the nature of the blast, including that the explosion was intended to injure or intimidate a resident, including the speculation that a witness involved in high-profile gang trials lived in the building.

“We believe there was a single explosive device placed in a doorway, and then the pressure wave from the blast spread simultaneously into several stairwells,” a police officer working on the case is alleged to have said.

Of the four people seriously injured by the explosion, three are women between the ages of 60 and 80 and the other is a man in his 50s. Three are currently in intensive care units.

The incident is just the latest major explosion that occurred in a residential area in Sweden in recent years. In March, a powerful blast rocked a residential building in Höganäs, Skåne County, damaging as many as 40 apartments.

Last year it was revealed that in 2019, Sweden saw only seven convictions relating to blasts, despite having also seen over 250 explosions that year. Many of the incidents are thought to be intentional bombings related to criminal gang activity.

So far this year, at least 60 detonations have been reported across Sweden with Dan Loyd, professor emeritus of energy technology at Linköping University, stating that criminals favour bombs as they are easier than using firearms.

“The charge and detonator often weigh no more than a few kilos, so you can carry it in a bag and put it in place. You can then trigger it when you are at a safe distance. It is also more difficult to trace what has happened in an explosion than in a shooting. There is not much left to investigate of the charge afterwards,” Loyd said.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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