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Student is Finnish blast suspect.

Police probing Finland's worst bomb attack in decades have found material for making bombs at the home of the only suspect, a chemistry student who was among the seven killed by the blast.

Jari Liukku, deputy chief of the National Bureau of Investigation, said the motive for the devastating explosion on Friday evening, which injured 80 people and shocked this peaceful Nordic nation, remained a mystery.

Police said the death toll would have been much higher if the bomb had exploded a few minutes earlier, as a performance for children close to the site of the bomb ended shortly before the blast.

The suspect was 'an ordinary young man from a middle-class family. There was nothing particular about him', said Liukku.

Police declined to name the suspect on the ground that the investigation was still under way, and Liukku said Finnish law prevents police from commenting in detail on the mental state of a suspect.

Police searched the home of the suspect, who lived with his parents, and said they had found material there that could be used to make a bomb, but declined to give details.

Authorities said the youth, a student at a polytechnic, had no criminal record and was not believed to have had any strong ideological beliefs.

The bomb, containing up to three kg (6.6 lbs) of explosives and metal shards, was detonated in the centre of the mall near a crowd of children watching a clown, police said.

A five-year-old child died and many of the injured lost limbs.

The fact that a performance for children in the same part of the mall ended just before the bomb exploded saved many lives, police said.

The attack was the deadliest Finland has suffered for decades and has forced political leaders and the public to ask why it should happen in their peaceful and relatively crime-free Nordic country.

'Security has been a synonym for Finland. We are used to not having to worry about our safety in public places. We even expect our leaders to be able to move openly among the public,' the newspaper Hufvudstadsbladet said in an editorial.

'We take for granted that our children can watch a clown in connection with a family's Friday shopping without being blown to bits,' it said.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Oct 14, 2002
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