Sweden attacker identified as 22-year-old Afghan: media

Johannes LEDEL
·2-min read

The suspect in the stabbing that left seven injured in Sweden is a 22-year-old Afghan, who arrived in the Nordic country in 2018, media reported Thursday.

Swedish police are investigating a possible terror incident after a man stabbed and injured at least seven people in the city of Vetlanda on Wednesday.

A police statement early Thursday revised the number of injured in the attack to seven from eight but did not give further details.

The suspect, who is in his twenties, was taken to hospital after being shot in the leg by police following the mid-afternoon attack in the southern city of 13,000 inhabitants.

Speaking to AFP, police said the man had used a "sharp weapon," while local media reported that he had brandished a knife.

Police initially treated the incident as "attempted murder" but later changed it in a statement to include a "suspected terrorist crime", without giving further details.

Police did not specify the man's nationality, but according to several media reports, he was originally from Afghanistan and had arrived in Sweden in 2018.

Three of those attacked were said to have suffered life-threatening injuries, while two others were in serious condition, according to the local health authority in Jonkoping where they were being treated in hospital.

Regional police chief Malena Grann later clarified that a preliminary investigation was still under the designation "attempted murder," but details had emerged that meant they were also looking into "potential terror motives."

"There are details in the investigation that have led us to investigate whether there was a terror motive," Grann said, without giving details.

He added that the police were working closely with the Swedish intelligence service Sapo.

- 'Despicable actions' -

The suspect was a resident of the area and previously known to police, but in the past had only been accused of "petty crimes", including small-scale cannabis use, according to local press.

The extent of his injuries were also unknown but police said they believed they would be able question him.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven condemned the "horrific violence" in a statement published on his Facebook page.

"We face these despicable actions with the combined force of the community," Lofven said.

"We are reminded of how frail our safe existence is," Lofven added.

Swedish intelligence services said the terrorist threat was high.

The Scandinavian country has been targeted twice by attacks in recent years.

In December 2010, a man carried out a suicide bomb attack in the centre of Stockholm. He died after only slightly injuring passers-by.

In April 2017, a radicalised Uzbek asylum seeker mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck, killing five people. He was sentenced to life in prison.

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