New police task force after latest Malmö blast

An explosion damaged a convenience store in Malmö in southern Sweden early Tuesday morning, prompting police to form a special task force to look into a string of recent bombings in the city.

“It was a really serious explosion, not simply a firework,” Malmö police spokesperson Göran Billberg told The Local.

The blast destroyed parts of the store’s entryway and security shutter, but no one was injured.

Witnesses reported seeing a person leaving the area on Sallerupsvägen around the time of the explosion, which took place around 1am and was powerful enough to be heard in many parts of the city.

Police continue to investigate the blast, but have yet to make any arrests.

The store’s owner had no explanation as to why the shop was targeted, and it remains unclear whether or not any threats may have been directed against the man.

“We’re talking to the owner and the employees as part of an overall survey of the situation,” said Billberg.

“There is nothing that has come up yet to indicate this was the work of organised criminals. It was a really small convenience store. It’s the first time a story like that has been targeted.”

According to Billberg, there have been 25 cases of small explosive devices being detonated in and around Malmö since the start of 2010, include a recent wave that started sometime in March.

Following Tuesday morning’s attack, police in Malmö and Skåne County criminal police announced plans to launch a special task force to investigate the incidents.

“We wanted to pool our resources and take things up to a county-wide level to see if there may be any connections to incidents elsewhere in Skåne,” said Billberg.

“We hope to go deeper in our analytic work to look at some of the different theories as to why the explosions are taking place.”

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Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”