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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Finland Shocked by Deadly Mall Blast

HELSINKI, Finland -- Police probing Finland's worst peacetime bomb attack 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, investigators said Sunday.

The National Bureau of Investigation said the motive for the devastating explosion at a busy shopping center Friday evening, which injured some 80 people and shocked this peaceful Nordic nation, remained a mystery.

"He was likely a skilled bomb maker," NBI Deputy Chief Jari Liukku said. He said the explosives used were unusual and different from those used by the military.

Finnish media said the dead student may have obtained bomb-making information on the Internet and said his parents, unaware of his activities and deeply shocked, were receiving counseling.

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

The shopping mall, the country's second biggest, in the Helsinki suburb of Vantaa, was packed with more than 2,000 people at the time.

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

Police searched the home of the student, who lived with his parents, and found material there that could be used to make a bomb. "In the home search, material was found which can connect the perpetrator's residence and the site of the incident," NBI Chief Tero Haapala told a news conference.

Finnish media said police had found Internet addresses and other information on the suspect's home computer that suggested he had obtained bomb-making instructions over the Internet.

"Every kid in Finland has a computer and Internet access. We are investigating that as well," Haapala said.

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

The bomb, containing up to three kilograms of explosives and metal shards, was detonated in the center of the mall near a crowd of children watching a clown, police said. A seven-year-old child died and many of the injured lost limbs.

Politicians said the blast was Finland's deadliest peacetime attack, and it forced political leaders and the public to ask why it should happen in their relatively crime-free 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 daily Hufvudstadsbladet said in an editorial. "We take for granted that our children can watch a clown during a family's Friday shopping without being blown to bits," it said.