Stockholm truck attack suspect showed ISIS sympathies, was wanted for deportation: Police

Workers place flowers and candles at the steps of Sergels Torg plaza in tribute to the victims of the attack.
Workers place flowers and candles at the steps of Sergels Torg plaza in tribute to the victims of the attack. PHOTO: AFP/TT NEWS AGENCY

STOCKHOLM (REUTERS) - Swedish police said on Sunday (April 9) that the suspect in the Stockholm truck attack was known to have expressed sympathies with extremist organisations, including Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).  

Police also said that the suspect had sought and been denied permanent residency in the Nordic country and was wanted for deportation.

“We know that he showed sympathies for extremist organisations, among them ISIS,” police official Jonas Hysing told a news conference.  

Police also said roughly five other people of interest to the investigation remained in police custody.

A 39-year-old Uzbek man was arrested earlier as the suspected driver of the truck that rammed into crowds in the Swedish capital, killing four people, on Friday.

The dead were two Swedes, one Briton and a Belgian. “We have confirmed the identities of the dead, and their families have been informed,” Stockholm police official Jan Evensson told reporters. 

A further 15 people were injured when the beer delivery truck barrelled down a busy shopping street before crashing into a department store and catching fire.

In neighbouring Norway early on Sunday, police set off a controlled explosion of a “bomb-like device” in central Oslo and took a suspect into custody. Police across the Nordic region went on heightened alert after the Stockholm attack.  

Vehicles have also been used as weapons in Nice and Berlin in the past year in attacks claimed by Islamic State militants.

Stockholm was returning to normality on a bright Sunday morning with police barricades taken down along the Drottninggatan street where the attack took place.

Hundreds of flower bouquets covered steps leading down to the square next to where the truck ploughed into the Ahlens department store, with more piled up under boarded-up windows.

Ten of the injured people remained in hospital, two of them in intensive care, Stockholm authorities said. Police said they had now identified three of the four dead.

A memorial service was planned in Sergelstorg, the central square next to Drottninggatan, at 2pm (8pm Singapore time).

Sweden has long taken pride in its tolerant liberal democracy and been among the world's most welcoming nations to immigrants. But some Swedes are having second thoughts after more than 160,000 people, many from Syria, applied for asylum in 2015 in a nation of just 10 million.