Stockholm attack driver ‘deliberately targeted young children’ as he drove hijacked lorry into crowd
- Truck is hijacked and driven into Stockholm department store
- Man ‘arrested and claims responsibility for attack’
- At least four dead and 15 injured
- Swedish Prime Minister: Everything indicates this is terrorism
- Crash comes after trucks used in Nice and Berlin atrocities
- Suspect reported to be 39-year-old Uzbek father of four
- How a terrorist brought carnage to the streets of Stockholm
A suspected terrorist targeted young children 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.”
Swedish police said on Saturday morning that they believe a 39-year-old suspect was behind the truck attack which left four dead and 15 injured, but declined to comment on reports that the suspect was a father-of-four from Uzbekistan.
The unnamed suspect reportedly confessed to the attack after being detained in Marsta, which is around 25 miles north of the Swedish capital.
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.
Police found explosives in the truck used in the attack in Stockholm, Swedish television said on Saturday citing multiple unnamed police sources.
Eight victims, including children, remain in hospital, according to Swedish media. Three of the victims died at the scene, a report said, while one died after arriving at the hospital.
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 up 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 supporters.
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 flowerpots 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 flowerpots 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 put on lockdown, with the metro and mainline trains closed, as police fanned out across the city in pursuit of the suspect. Stockholm city council announced that 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.