British Resident Suspected in Sweden Bombing, North Korea Warns of War
Swedish policemen and volunteers patrol on Dec. 13, 2010 at the corner of Bryggaregatan and Drottninggatan street in central Stockholm, where a car bomb targeted Christmas shoppers Saturday. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images)
Swedish police said they are “98 percent sure” that Taimour Abdulwahab al-Abdaly, born in Baghdad but living in the United Kingdom, was responsible for an explosion in Stockholm on Saturday that injured two people. The 28-year-old, reportedly educated in Sweden and Britain, blew himself up on a busy street, but not all of the explosives detonated. A police spokesman said the explosives in the car could have caused much greater damage.
Al-Abdaly lived in Luton, north of London, where he attended a local mosque but left after other members challenged him for extremist views, according to a representative of the Luton Islamic Centre. He sent threats to Swedish police, who had not been tracking him before the attack, and to a news agency, referring to Sweden’s military presence in Afghanistan and to a cartoon depiction of the Prophet Muhammad, saying “so will your children, daughters, brothers and sisters die, like our brothers, sister and children die.”
North Korea Warns of Nuclear War on Korean Peninsula
North Korea’s state-run newspaper referred to military drills in South Korea as “bringing the dark clouds of a nuclear war to hang over the Korean peninsula,” a further escalation of hostility in the tense weeks after North Korea shelled South Korea’s Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23.
The alarming rhetoric is not unprecedented; the North has threatened to turn Seoul into a “sea of flames” in the event of war, and made similar statements about Japan and the United States.
This week South Korea will conduct a military drill across the country simulating attack scenarios. As U.S. military and diplomatic officials affirm their defense pacts with South Korea and Japan, China and North Korea have also reiterated their close alliance. China has provided North Korea with material support for years since the Soviet Union, once its chief benefactor, collapsed.
U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan, Pakistan in Critical Condition
Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, is in critical condition after a second surgery to repair a tear in his aorta, a condition that is often fatal. Holbrooke, 69, had a first surgery on Saturday to fix the blood vessel that leads into the heart. He had collapsed Friday during a meeting with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The long-time diplomat had been in the midst of preparing a major report on Afghanistan for President Obama.
Snow Blankets Midwest, Minneapolis Metrodome Collapses
A winter storm that could dump an additional five to nine inches of snow in some parts of the Midwest on Monday has slowed air travel and closed schools, with more expected through the middle of the week in the East. In Minneapolis, the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the weight of the snowfall. The cancellation of flights in major airports, including Chicago’s O’Hare, affected air travel in cities around the country.
Hostage Crisis at French Nursery School Ends
A 17-year-old wielding a sword held 20 students at a nursery school in Besancon, France, releasing some before police stormed the building. No motive was immediately clear, though the teenager reportedly was known to have mental health issues. The children held were between 4 and 5 years old.