Swedish Police Searching for Suspect in Apartment Bombing, Believe Man Near Eviction

Police in Sweden are searching for a man they believe connected with an explosion and fire at an apartment building that injured 16 people this week, officials said Thursday.

Senior authorities said the man is suspected of public destruction and hasn't been found. His identity has not been released, but media in Sweden reported that he is in his 50's and lived with his mother in the Goteborg apartment building.

"We still do not know what caused the explosion," senior police officer Anders Borjesson said at a press conference. "The investigation is far from over, we still have a lot ahead of us."

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below:

Sweden Blast
Smoke billows from a building at the site of an explosion in central Gothenburg on September 28. At least 16 people were injured, including four seriously, in an explosion that tore through an apartment building, authorities said. BJORN LARSSON ROSVALL/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Borjesson said that the warmth and the lack of oxygen inside the building had made it difficult for the investigators to do their work.

He declined to give details on the suspect.

The property owner had been trying to evict the man and his mother from their apartment, according to daily newspaper Aftonbladet. The local Goteborgs-Posten newspaper said an eviction was planned for Tuesday, the day the explosion occurred.

Aftonbladet said police had charged the man with several alleged crimes a week before the blast. The paper also reported that after he was not allowed to see his mother at a nursing home due to pandemic restrictions, the suspect harassed several people, including the owner of the building.

The explosion rocked the building in central Goteborg early Tuesday. Ensuing blazes spread to several apartments, and hundreds of residents were evacuated. At least 140 apartments were damaged.

One of the four people seriously injured remained in intensive care Wednesday, Goteborg's main hospital told Swedish broadcaster SVT.

Later Thursday, police reported a bomb threat against a medical center in the vicinity of an apartment building. Patients and employees were evacuated, and a bomb squad and fire firefighters were at the scene, police spokesperson Hans-Jorgen Ostler said. A police helicopter hovered above the area.

That police operation also led to the evacuation of a kindergarten near the medical center. Firefighters were seen lifting children over a fence.

The police department later said in a statement that officers found "no dangerous objects" but the department would provide information about "threats against a group."

The Goteborgs-Posten and Aftonbladet newspapers, quoting unnamed police sources, said the police operation was connected to the explosion suspect but did not give details.

Swedish media had quickly focused on the possibility that the explosion could be related to feuding gangs. Sweden has seen a rise in violence between organized criminal gangs.

Police and prosecutors said Thursday that "at present, there is no indication that the blast has links to gang crime."