Uzbek man nabbed for Stockholm attack

People flocked to the attack site to pay their respects to the victims yesterday. Meanwhile, police have arrested a man (above) on terror charges in connection with the attack.
People flocked to the attack site to pay their respects to the victims yesterday. Meanwhile, police have arrested a man on terror charges in connection with the attack.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
People flocked to the attack site to pay their respects to the victims yesterday. Meanwhile, police have arrested a man (above) on terror charges in connection with the attack.
People flocked to the attack site to pay their respects to the victims yesterday. Meanwhile, police have arrested a man (above) on terror charges in connection with the attack.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Not clear if suspect, said to have been driver of truck in attack, was part of broader group, say police

STOCKHOLM • Sweden has arrested a man on terror charges after a hijacked beer delivery truck ploughed through Stockholm's main pedestrian shopping street on Friday and then slammed into a department store, killing at least four people.

The suspect, believed to be the truck driver, is a 39-year-old man originally from Uzbekistan, the police told a press conference in Stockholm yesterday.

Police are also investigating a "technical device" found in the truck. "We have found something in the truck in the driver's compartment. A technical device that should not be there. I cannot say whether this is a bomb or some sort of flammable material. That is under investigation," said National Police Commissioner Dan Eliasson.

It is not clear whether the suspect worked as part of a broader network, said Mr Eliasson. He was known to security services but the information was of a "marginal character", he said.

Prosecutors said the suspect had not spoken, and there was no immediate word of any criminal charges.

The suspect, who was caught on security cameras fleeing the scene, was arrested late Friday in a shop in Marsta, north of Stockholm.

Police said he drew attention to himself after behaving in a way that was abnormal, prompting the arrest.

  • S'pore condemns 'copycat attack'

  • Singapore has strongly condemned the "copycat attack" in Stockholm on Friday, denouncing it as senseless and unjustifiable.

    "We extend our deepest condolences to the bereaved families and wish the injured a swift recovery," a Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) spokesman said yesterday.

    So far, there have been no reports of Singaporeans injured or directly affected by the incident.

    MFA says the Singapore Embassy in Berlin is in contact with Swedish authorities.

    Singaporeans in Stockholm who require urgent consular assistance should contact the Singapore Embassy in Berlin or the 24-hour MFA Duty Office on 6379-8800/8855.

"We're focusing on how he entered the country, where he has been and what kind of contacts he has had, what we can see from his friends," Mr Eliasson said.

Prosecutors and police declined to comment on any possible links to radical groups like the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But the prosecutors said it was clear from the "modus operandi" that this was a terrorist crime.

"There are circumstances that may indicate there's an explicit purpose to harm the population and incite fear," said Mr Hans Ihrman. "That's part of the investigation's focus, and there's a lot to indicate at this point that this is the case."

Friday's attack was the latest in a string of assaults with vehicles in Europe. The deadliest was that last year in France on the July 14 Bastille Day national holiday, when a man rammed a truck into a crowd in the Mediterranean resort of Nice, killing 86 people.

In December, a man hijacked a truck and slammed into shoppers at a Christmas market in Berlin, killing 12 people.

In London last month, a 52-year- old convert to Islam killed five people when he drove a car at high speed into pedestrians before launching a knife attack on a policeman guarding Parliament.

Meanwhile, people flocked to the site of the carnage in Stockholm yesterday, turning construction fences at the scene into a wall of flowers. Crown Princess Victoria and Prime Minister Stefan Lofven were among the visitors.

Mr Lofven said: "All of us feel anger over what has happened. I also feel the same anger, but we also need to use that anger for something constructive and go forward.

"We want - and I am convinced the Swedish people also want - to live a normal life. We are an open, democratic society and that is what we will remain."

Security has been strengthened across the country after the worst terrorist event in seven decades. Parts of the capital were still under lockdown yesterday.

Fears reverberated in neighbouring Norway, where police said on Twitter that officers in the largest cities and at the airport in Oslo would be armed until further notice.

BLOOMBERG ,REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE.NYTIMES

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 09, 2017, with the headline 'Uzbek man nabbed for Stockholm attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe