April 07, 2017
Several people are dead and others more injured after a truck rammed into pedestrians Friday on a popular shopping street in a terrorist attack in downtown Stockholm.
Local media put the number killed between three and five, but Swedish police have yet to confirm numbers. Despite earlier reports that one arrest had been made, police said they are still on the hunt for the perpetrator.
“Sweden has been attacked. All indications are that it was a terrorist attack. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and those injured,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.
Around 3 p.m. local time, a large beer truck crashed into the Åhlens department store on Drottninggatan street, a popular pedestrian shopping center.
Witnesses told the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet that they fled the scene into nearby stores.
“The lorry just drove, full speed ahead, down Drottninggatan hitting people. … We had to throw ourselves into an H&M store, and then the lorry hit Åhléns,” Durde, one witness, is quoted as saying.
Photos show the truck on fire and smoking through the front of the large store. Scores of people are seen fleeing the scene in one video, and photos of the aftermath show the pavement streaked with blood stains.
Swedish security police said the Swedish brewery Spendrups reported a truck stolen in central Stockholm shortly before the attack, Aftonbladet reported.
Truck ramming attacks are popular modes of “lone wolf terrorism,” acts inspired by global Islamic terrorism but not always directed by or linked to a particular group.
However the Islamic State terror group has claimed responsibility for attacks in London, Berlin and Nice that all involved a car or truck ramming.
A little over two weeks ago, the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, later claimed responsibility for a car-ramming attack in London. Five people were killed and 40 injured when a terrorist slammed into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge.
The fifth victim, Andreea Cristea, 31, from Romania, died Friday after being removed from life support, BBC news reported. She had fallen into the Thames River during the attack.
Twelve people were killed when a terrorist drove a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin.
In July of last year, 89 people were killed in Nice when a truck driver mowed revelers down on the promenade.
In the Middle East, Palestinians have killed tens of Israelis over several years with car and truck rammings, with Hamas in the Gaza Strip either celebrating or claiming responsibility for the attacks.
Sweden has not been immune to the rise in attacks plaguing Europe over the last few years.
In June of last year, 20-year-old Aydin Sevigin was sentenced to five years in prison for plotting a terrorist attack in Sweden. He was believed to have been radicalized by the Islamic State, the Swedish newspaper Expressen reported.
In 2015, a Swedish national killed a student and teacher at a school, in an attack police categorized as a hate crime and racially motivated.
In Stockholm in 2010, a suicide bomber killed one and injured two after detonating a car bomb. The bomber, who was a British-educated, Iraqi national, had sent an email to local media and police threatening the attack, citing Sweden’s involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.