Truck rams into crowd in Stockholm

A witness said the truck came out of nowhere, while another said people turned in panic and ran for the exits when the vehicle struck the Ahlens department store.
A witness said the truck came out of nowhere, while another said people turned in panic and ran for the exits when the vehicle struck the Ahlens department store.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

At least three killed and many hurt in terror attack in the Swedish capital

STOCKHOLM • At least three people were killed when a truck drove into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm yesterday, a scene reminiscent of similar assaults in Nice and Berlin last year.

The incident, which Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said was a terrorist attack, occurred yesterday afternoon at the corner of the Ahlens department store and Drottninggatan, the city's biggest pedestrian street, above ground from Stockholm's central subway station.

Thick smoke was rising from the scene, while video images showed an area blocked off by police and crowds gathering around the police cordon.

The scene is just one block away from where a suicide bomber injured two people and killed himself in December 2013.

A witness said the truck came out of nowhere, Sky News reported.

"I went to the main street when a big truck came out of nowhere. I could not see if anyone was driving it, but it got out of control," the witness was quoted as saying.

"I saw at least two being run over. I ran as fast as I could from there".

Mr Christoffer Ung was shopping at Ahlens when the vehicle struck the building. "People turned in panic and ran for the exits. When I came out of the building, I saw flames coming out of the building," he told Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish news site.

The Swedish authorities say at least three people were killed and many injured.

Stockholm's subway has been shut down, as has train traffic running through the central station. Police said the truck had been hijacked earlier in the day.

There were unsubstantiated reports of shots being fired, Sveriges Radio said. Mr Lofven said one person was arrested, but this has been denied by police.

The assault follows a series of attacks in Europe by people using vehicles as weapons. The worst was last year in France on the Bastille Day national holiday of July 14, in which a man rammed a truck into a crowd in the Mediterranean resort of Nice, killing 86 people. The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had claimed responsibility for it.

And in December, a man hijacked a truck and slammed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people, also an ISIS attack.

Just last month, a man drove a car at high speed into pedestrians on London's Westminster Bridge before stabbing a policeman guarding the Parliament building. The attack led to the deaths of five people.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 08, 2017, with the headline 'Truck rams into crowd in Stockholm'. Print Edition | Subscribe