Two have been killed, and at least eight seriously injured after attackers burst into a crowded pub screening a football game and opened fire in the Swedish city of Gothenburg, it has been reported. Swedish police have said they expect the death toll to rise in the coming hours, with witnesses describing the shooting as having started extremely quickly – and was over before they knew what was happening. TheLocal.se reports the comments of one sports fan who was in the bar at the time of the shooting: “I didn’t have time to think what was happening. Then I saw that my friend was bleeding. I tried to stop the flow of blood as well as I could with my hands”.
Despite punitive gun laws imposed in many European countries, the attack shows again the ease with which organised criminals and terrorist gangs can acquire high-powered former Soviet stock assault rifles. The weapons used in the Gothenburg attack, the motive for which has not yet been determined, are the same as the Paris Charlie Hebdo killings, and the Belgium Jewish museum shooting, among others.
Although no arrests have been made, police are reportedly working on a hypothesis of gang-related violence. The apparent normality of such violence is summed up by the comments of one local resident who remarked that despite the fact “this is actually a quiet area” he admitted “there have been occasional shootings”.
The conflict in Gothenburg, Sweden’s second largest city is largely between a group of immigrant cartels, determined to capture the local drug trade. Over one fifth of all those living in the city are immigrants, with some of the largest groups coming from Somalia, Iraq, and Iran. In Gothenburg and other Swedish cities, extortion of business owners by migrant gangs offering protection from other such gangs is becoming a fact of life for some, with police “powerless” to act.