Car bomb kills man in Helsinki


HELSINKI, Finland, July 16 (UPI) -- One man was killed -- apparently the victim of a car bombing -- outside a hotel in downtown Helsinki Wednesday morning.

The explosion at 6:50 a.m. shattered windows on three floors of the Helka Hotel, but the blast injured only one other person -- a driver in a car alongside the vehicle that was destroyed.


"We are treating this case as a homicide," Detective Chief Inspector Olli Toyras told United Press International. "We don't believe there is any tie to international terrorism. We don't believe that there is any religious angle to the bombing. We see no foreign background in this incident."

The explosion occurred near Helsinki's synagogue, but the synagogue was on another street.

The car was in the lefthand lane of Pohjoinen Rautatiekatu when the explosion occurred. "Part of the car went flying more than 100 meters (300 feet)," said Dr. Jerzy Slowinski, a neuropathologist from the Medical University of Silesia, Bytom, Poland.

Slowinski, as well as many other guests at the Helka Hotel, was attending the seventh European Congress on Neuropathology in the Finnish capital. "I was just waking up when I heard the explosion. It was on the other side of the hotel from where my room was."


The blast shattered windows on the ground floor of the hotel and on two guest floors. No one in the rooms was injured. The hotel immediately evacuated the 100 or so guests.

Slowinski said the scene on the street was "terrible. The man's body was on the street." He said the victim was decapitated.

Toyras said the victim has been identified, but police are withholding his name until relatives can be notified. He is also withholding the name of the injured man. "He was not seriously injured and has been discharged from the hospital," Toyras said. He would not comment on whether the injured man was a suspect in the investigation.

"I think that by tomorrow we will be a lot wiser about what happened here," he said.

He said that one of the possible motives that police are investigating is whether the bombing was an attempt by one party to settle scores with another.

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