Arson attack' destroys planned refugee home in Sweden


A planned refugee home in Sweden was torched in a suspected arson attack, police said Saturday, the latest incident apparently targeting new arrivals in Europe's migrant crisis.

Firefighters were called to the blaze in Eskilstuna, 90 kilometres (50 miles) west of Stockholm, around 11:00pm (2100 GMT) on Friday, but the building was almost totally destroyed.

Police have launched an arson inquiry into the attack on the building, a former holiday camp which had been set to house around 60 people seeking asylum in Sweden.

The incident adds to around a dozen similar attacks since the start of the year and came a day after a man armed with a sword killed two people in a racist attack at a Swedish school with many immigrant pupils.

"If it's because of the fact that some people think this type of lodging should not exist - then that's really terrible," local official Tryggve Lundh said of the migrant hostel fire on SR public radio.

Sweden, a country of 9.8 million, expects to receive up to 190,000 asylum applications this year - putting it among the EU states with the highest proportion of refugees per capita as the continent struggles with a massive influx of migrants.

Support for the far-right has grown as Sweden's ability to house and integrate the new arrivals comes under strain.

Anti-immigration attitudes have been rising across Europe, as more than 600,000 migrants and refugees - most fleeing violence in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan - have made the dangerous journey to the continent this year, according to the UN.