STOCKHOLM, Sweden — Swedish police defused an explosive device found at an outdoor culture festival in central Stockholm, after evacuating hundreds of people from the area, police said Monday.
The bomb squad was called in on Sunday evening after an abandoned bag was found in the Kungstradgarden park in the city center, where various musical and theater events were being held.
The five-day Stockholm Culture Festival included a concert by Iranian pop singer Ebi, whose real name is Ebrahim Hamedi, and who is a known Iranian dissident.
It is unclear whether Hamedi was the intended target of the explosive device. The incident comes just two weeks after Hadi Matar stabbed dissident author Salman Rushdie, who had been the subject of a fatwa placed upon him by Iran’s former leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
“The bomb squad neutralized the device at the scene,” police said in a statement, adding: “police believe that the bag… contained an explosive charge.”
“All of the components will now be examined. Only after that will we be able to say if the dangerous object was functional,” a Stockholm district police chief, Erik Akerlund, said in the statement.
Police opened a preliminary inquiry into destruction of public property. They have spoken to witnesses and were studying “extensive camera and video material” from the scene, he said.
No one was currently in custody, he added.
The free festival included musical acts, activities and performances in six areas across the Swedish capital.