Defiant Swedes unite, reject violence after truck attack

by Abel Hampton April 15, 2017, 5:37
Defiant Swedes unite, reject violence after truck attack

Stockholm was returning to normality on Sunday with police barricades taken down along the Drottninggatan street where the attack took place.

The Swedish TT news agency said city officials planned to move thousands of flowers to a nearby square after an aluminium fence outside the department store threatened to collapse. However, police said they were ever more convinced that the Uzbek man was the driver of the commandeered truck and may have acted alone.

Police say the suspect had been ordered to leave the country and expressed extremist sympathies.

Security officials in neighboring Norway, where a 17-year-old asylum-seeker from Russian Federation was detained early Sunday in connection with an explosive device found near a busy subway station, spoke of the alarming potential for a copycat effect.

He had also expressed sympathies for extremist Islamist groups, said the head of Sweden's national police. He was a 41-year-old executive at the Swedish music-streaming service Spotify.

Ten of the injured people remained in hospital, with two of them in intensive care, the authorities said.

In the press conference on Sunday, Jonas Hysing, chief of national police operations, said, the Uzbek man suspected of ramming a truck into a crowd in Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15 others, had expressed sympathy for Islamic State and was wanted for failing to comply with a deportation order.

The four victims killed included a British man, a Belgian woman and two Swedes, authorities in those countries said.

Swedish Police confirmed the identity of the suspected truck attacker as a 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan, who is now under police custody.

A homemade bomb placed in a bag was found in the truck, which was suspected to have failed to be detonated during the attack, Swedish Television (SVT) reported Saturday, quoting sources. Their identities were not released. Stockholm county spokesman Patrik Soderberg said four of the 10 were considered "seriously" injured and the remaining six, including the child, were slightly hurt. Police said they had identified three of the four dead.

The lion-shaped boulders on Drottninggatan are meant as roadblocks and have been put up in several European capitals after a truck attack past year killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.

Friday's attack has deeply shocked the usually tranquil Scandinavian nation, which prides itself on its openness and tolerance.

The attack shattered any sense Swedes had of being insulated from the militant violence that has hit other parts of Europe, raising questions about whether the police and security services could have done more to prevent it.

Hundreds of flower bouquets covered the steps leading down to the square next to where the truck ploughed into the Ahlens department store, with more piled up under boarded-up windows.

The store said it would reopen today "without any damaged goods". It was quickly put out by firefighters.

Thousands gathered in the spring sunshine near the site of Friday's attack to show support for those killed or injured when a hijacked beer delivery truck hurtled down a busy shopping street before crashing into a store and catching fire.

Sweden's SAPO security police said Sunday it was working to find "any abettor or network involved in the attack".

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