Wednesday, November 29

Sweden truck attack suspect is 39-year-old from Uzbekistan who posted jihadist propaganda



Policemen are seen guarding an area after several people were killed and injured after a truck crashed into a department store Ahlens, in central Stockholm, Sweden, April 7, 2017.

A suspected terrorist targeted young children deliberately as he drove a hijacked lorry into a crowded shopping street in Stockholm, witnesses claimed last night.

Infants’ buggies were sent flying through the air, one Swedish broadcaster reported, as the vehicle zigzagged along the pedestrianised Queen Street shopping district and embedded itself in the window of a department store.

It swerved from side to side. It didn’t look out of control, it was trying to hit people, a second witness, Glen Foran, an Australian tourist, told Reuters. It hit people, it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it.

A nationwide manhunt was launched and one person arrested after police issued a photograph of a lightly bearded man wearing a hooded top whom they wished to question in connection with the attack, which happened at around 2.45pm local time.

Jan Evensson of the Stockholm police said the man who was arrested looked like the person in the surveillance camera photo.

Aftonbladet, a daily newspaper, reported a man with light injuries had been arrested in north Stockholm after claiming he was responsible for carrying out the attack.

Last night it was reported that the suspected attacker was a 39-year-old father-of-four from Uzbekistan.

Some reports suggested he had previously posted jihadist propaganda on his Facebook page and had images of people injured in the explosion at the Boston Marathon in April 2013.

Early this morning it was reported a second man had been arrested in connection with the attack.

At least four people were killed and another 15 were injured, including children, authorities said. Nine of the injured were in a serious condition.

Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said everything indicated the incident was terrorism.

It happened less than two weeks after the Westminster Bridge attack, and stirred memories of the attacks in Nice and Berlin where Islamist sympathisers used lorries as weapons – a tactic first suggested in a 2010 directive from al-Qaeda commanders to their Followers.

The attack also came less than two months after Donald Trump provoked a row with Sweden after suggesting that immigration had led to rising crime in the country.

Television footage showed hundreds of shoppers and office workers fleeing the scene after the lorry careered down the pedestrian precinct, killing a dog and crushing flower pots and litter bins as it went.

We stood inside a shoe store and heard something. and then people started to scream. I looked out of the store and saw a big truck, Jan Granroth told Aftonbladet.

Another witness said: When I came out I saw a lorry standing there, with smoke coming from it, and there were loads of bits of cars and broken flower pots along the street.

Annevi Petersson, a photographer, ran out from a store when she heard screaming coming from outside. I saw a woman had a partly severed foot. People screaming in panic, others ran. I saw people laying bloody on the street and got out of there.

Stockholm was under lockdown last night, with the metro and mainline trains shut down, as police fanned out across the city in pursuit of the suspect.

Stockholm city council announced it was opening public buildings for those stranded by the train and bus closures.

The attack, which used a truck hijacked from a Swedish brewing company as it made its deliveries yesterday morning, drew condemnation and condolences from around the world.

Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, said he was deeply concerned. Britain’s thoughts are with the victims, their families and the whole of Sweden, he added.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, expressed his sympathies, saying his city shared a steely determination with the people of Stockholm that we will never allow terrorists to succeed.

The European Union and countries across the continent added their voices of support, led by Angela Merkel, the German chancellor and François Hollande, the French president, who expressed outrage at the attack in a statement from the Elysée Palace. Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said that Europe would face down terrorism.