Stockholm attack driver 'deliberately targeted young children' as he drove hijacked lorry into crowd

James Rothwell

  • 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.

Stockholm terror attack, in pictures

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 three 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. 

Flowers and a candle have been laid by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven Credit: Odd Andersen/AFP

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.

Where the attack took place 3:23AM

Swedish prosecutors says man arrested on strongest level of suspicion for terror crime

 Swedish prosecutors said on Saturday a man detained in connection with a truck attack in the capital had been arrested on the strongest degree of suspicion of committing a terror crime, the Reuters  news agency is reporting

Sweden's legal system has several degrees regarding the strength of suspicion.

"One person has been arrested on suspicion of terrorist crimes through murder," Karin Rosander, press spokesperson at the prosecutors office said.

1:07AM

Second man arrested 

Citing police sources,  Swedish media is reporting that  a second man has been arrested in connection with the attack.

He was apprehended at 11.30pm in Julstad by the national task force in a suburb of Stockholm.

11:11PM

Sweden reinforces its borders

Sweden has reinforced its borders with immediate effect, Stefan Löfven, the Swedish Prime Minister said.

Describing the attack as a tragedy for the families involved, he added that he would do “whatever it takes” to ensure people felt safe.

Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Lofven place flowers at Queens Street after the terror attack on Drottninggatan Credit: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

"Terrorists want us to be afraid...to not live our lives normally, but that is what we are going to do. Terrorists can never defeat Sweden, never."

The Prime Minister, who laid a bouquet of red roses and lit a candle near the store where the atrocity took place, added  that the attack had attacked people when they were at their most vulnerable, going about their daily lives.

10:54PM

Narrow escape for Afghan who lost family members  to terrorist attack three years ago

Faisal Khan, who is now a Swedish citizen, was just across the road when the terrorist struck.

“I was standing just across the road,” he told The Local.

“When he hit the traffic light it made a loud noise that made people take notice and get out of the way.

“When he hit the traffic light it made a loud noise that made people take notice and get out of the way.”

Mr Khan lost his brother, sister-in-law, and their two children, added: “I felt the pain of people running in panic and crying about the same kind of thing I have lived through all my life.

“Suddenly something happens that changes everything. These poor families will never feel the same again.”

10:42PM

Witness describes hearing an 'intense bang'

The Telegraph's James Rothwell has spoken to David Lundberg, a 31-year-old photographer whose office overlooks Queens Street.

"It was so loud I said to my colleague that must have been a bomb. It was an intense bang. We heard screaming. I looked out the window and saw a man covered in blood lying on his stomach. And a boy and a child who people were running towards. Another body on the ground was just split in two. Then people were screaming and the police came. 

"I went outside and walked past what I thought as some rubbish . Then I realised it was a severed hand and a leg . There was a medical kit in the office so We took that downstairs with my camera and  I took some photos. After that the police surrounded the area and i walked  I home because the stations were closed."

10:34PM

Wall came towards shoppers ‘like an avalanche’  

One of the shoppers caught up in the Stockholm attack has given a graphic description of how the horror unfolded.

Christoffer Ung was shopping in the Åhléns department store when the stolen truck ploughed through the crowd of shoppers.

“I was on my way to the exit and just saw the wall coming towards us like an avalanche,” he told the TT news agency.

“People turned in panic and fled towards the exits. Then the main thing was to get away from the scene as quickly as possible. My first thought was that a bomb had exploded.”

“When I came out of the building I saw flames emerging from it.”

8:47PM

Swedish police say man arrested in connection with truck attack identified

Swedish police last night said the person arrested resembled the picture and description of a man that police went public with after the attack.

"We went public with information and a picture of a person that we were interested in. The person who is arrested resembles that description which means we have particular interest in him in regard to the ongoing investigation," said Jan Evensson, regional police official  told a news conference.

7:54PM

Swedish police confirm one man arrested

"One person has been arrested who may be connected with the incident," police said in a statement.

7:53PM

Death toll rises to four

Four people have died and 15 people have been injured, nine seriously, in the  Stockholm lorry attack, Swedish emergency services have said.

7:19PM

Man 'arrested, claiming responsibility for attack'

According to a local newspaper, a man has been arrested in northern Stockholm, claiming responsibility for the attack

 

7:08PM

Stockholm's subway to reopen

Just a few hours after the attack, Stockholm's subway service has already been cleared to restart.

The city's public transport authority announced the news, but all bus traffic in the city centre remains at a standstill.

Trains will not stop at the two stations closest to where the truck attack took place. 

6:46PM

Eyewitness heard screams, then all went quiet 

Annevi Petersson, who was in the fitting room of the department store at the time of the attack, has been talking about what she witnessed.

"I heard the noise, I heard the screams, I saw the people," she told the BBC. "As I walked out, just outside the store there was a dead dog, the owner screaming. There was a lady lying with a severed foot.

"There was blood everywhere. There were bodies on the ground everywhere, and a sense of panic, people standing by their loved ones, but also people running away. 

It got very quiet. There was the noise, then everything got quiet, and then people started screaming and crying, obviously people severely wounded, then people running away."

6:25PM

Stockholm City Council opens its doors 

Stockholm City Council is giving refuge to anyone stranded in the city and unable to get home after trains and buses were cancelled. 

More information, in Swedish, is available here.

6:12PM

Police are questioning two people

Swedish police have confirmed they are interviewing two people in relation to the truck attack.

"I can confirm that we have taken in two people for questioning, but that does not necessarily mean that they are suspects," police spokesman Lars Bystrom said.

"We want to talk to everybody who knows anything about this and sometimes it's better to talk at the police station than [the] place of [the] event."

6:07PM

Londoners 'stand united' with Stockholm

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, has said the capital "stands united with Stockholm". 

It is only a fortnight since Westminster was targeted in another attack.

Mr Khan said it appears Sweden has "seen a despicable act of terrorism aimed at harming innocent people and attacking our shared values of democracy, freedom, justice and tolerance". 

"We share a steely determination with the people of Stockholm that we will never allow terrorists to succeed," he said. 

5:55PM

Police release image of wanted man

Swedish police have released this image, showing a man they say is wanted in connection with the attack. 

A man wanted by Swedish police Credit: Swedish Police

 

5:50PM

Eyewitness: lorry 'hit a pram with a kid in it'

Glen Foran, an Australian tourist in his 40s, witnessed the attack.

"I turned around and saw a big truck coming towards me," he said. It swerved from side to side. It didn't look out of control, it was trying to hit people.

"It hit people, it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it.

"It took a long time for police to get here. I suppose from their view it was quick, but it felt like forever."

5:43PM

Trains to Stockholm cancelled

All trains to and from Stockholm central station have been cancelled for the rest of the day. The station was evacuated earlier this afternoon.

5:34PM

Timeline of car attacks

Here's a timeline of terror attacks using cars and trucks, from our graphics department

Terror timeline - Ramming attacks involving vehicles

 

5:29PM

Johnson's 'deep concern' over the attack

 Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, has expressed his "deep concern" over the attack

https://twitter.com/BorisJohnson/status/850373821181952002

 

5:24PM

Death toll remains unclear

SVT, a Swedish broadcaster, has reported that at least five people were killed, but other Swedish media reported the toll as at least three. 

The police have yet to release an official figure.

"A truck was driven into Ahlen's department store on Drottninggatan," said national police commissioner Dan Eliasson. "There are many people injured. We can't confirm numbers of injuries or deaths at this press conference. The medical authorities will confirm that."

Senior police officer Mats Lofving said: "We don't know whether this incident is isolated or whether we can expect more.

"We have police positioned at several strategic places with a particular risk threat."

5:09PM

Putin: Russians and Swedes 'mourn together'

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, has sent a telegram of condolence to Sweden's king. It is only four days since a suicide bomb in St Petersburg killed 13. 

"In our country, people know, and not by hearsay, about the atrocities of international terrorism," he wrote. "At this difficult time, Russians mourn together with the people of Sweden." 

5:00PM

Do not drive into Stockholm, police say 

Swedish police say they cannot say how many people were killed or injured by the truck and they have not found the driver.

"We have no contact with the person or persons who drove the truck," Dan Eliasson, the chief of Sweden's police, told a news conference. 

"Right now we have no one arrested," said Jan Evensson of the Stockholm police who urged people not to drive into central Stockholm. 

4:46PM

European leaders express condolences

Politicians across Europe have been reacting to events.

"Terrible news from Stockholm," Juha Sipila, Finland's Prime Minister wrote in a tweet. "Our thoughts are with our neighbours and friends in Sweden." 

Anders Samuelson, the Danish foreign minister, said: "It's so horrible to learn about this terror attack... And one thing we can do is to cooperate even closer on exchanging data, exchanging information about what we learn of those terror cells or terrorists." 

Steffen Seibert, a German government spokesman, tweeted: "Our thoughts are with the people in Stockholm - the injured, relatives, rescuers and police. We stand together against terror." 

4:41PM

Suspect 'wearing green jacket, white shoes and grey hoodie'

According to local journalists, police are hunting a suspect wearing a green jacket, white shoes and a grey hoodie.

4:37PM

More pictures coming in from the scene

Emergency services at work at the scene Credit: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP
Police evacuate Stockholm's central station Credit: Anders Wiklund /AFP
Armed police officers outside Stockholm's central station Credit: TT News Agency /Reuters

 

4:20PM

Armed police at Oslo airport

Following the attack, police at Oslo airport and in the largest Norwegian cities will be armed until further notice, according to a police statement. Police officers in Norway, which borders Sweden, do not normally carry weapons. 

 

4:11PM

Swedish King's 'dismay'

Carl XVI Gustaf, Sweden's King, said that his family reacted to the attack "with dismay". 

"We follow developments but as of now our thoughts go to the victims and their families," he said in a brief statement. 

Sauli Niinsto, president of neighbouring Finland, said he was shocked by a "maniac act of terror". 

"Every terror attack is to be equally condemned," he said. "But it touches us deeply when such an attack takes place in our Nordic neighbourhood." 

4:00PM

Conflicting reports about arrest

After the Swedish Prime Minister said one person had been arrested over the attack, Swedish Police have since said that nobody has been arrested.

3:44PM

Juncker: We stand in solidarity with the people of Sweden

3:43PM

Witness: 'Rubbish bags are being used to cover the lifeless bodies'

The lorry ploughed into the Ahlens department store, which is part of a country-wide chain.

One 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 flower pots along the street."

Another witness said: "People are lying mowed down along the whole route. CPR is being given and rubbish bags are being used to cover the lifeless bodies."

British national Itay Lotem was nearby when the lorry ploughed into pedestrians in the centre of the city:

"I was sitting in a cafe, I just suddenly saw people coming in and talking about a lorry that had driven into people.

"I walked out and there were many people in that street, it's a pedestrian street. Very quickly police cordoned everything off."

Office worker JP Hanson described the scene as mayhem and said his building has been put into lockdown.

"Right now, inside here we have maybe 40 people," he told BBC News. "The mood is quite positive, obviously people are afraid - but I would say it's a strong mood."

3:39PM

Latest pictures from scene in Stockholm shopping district

The truck embedded in  the Ahlens department store Credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP
Police officers at the scene of the Stockholm attack Credit: JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP
Armed police on the streets of Stockholm Credit: Police officers at the scene of the Stockholm attack/AFP
Police at the scene of the terror attack Credit: Noella Johansson/TT News Agency
A police officer in a gas mask Credit: Jessica Gow/TT NEWS AGENCY
The truck embedded in the department store Credit: Twitter/Emergenza24

3:24PM

Death toll rises to five after truck terror attack

At least five people are now confirmed dead and many more injured after the terror attack,  Swedish broadcaster SVT reported.

Scene of the terror attack outside the Ahlens department store Credit:  TT NEWS AGENCY/Rreuters

 

3:19PM

Video: Emergency services at scene of truck crash

3:17PM

Arrest after lorry terror attack

One person has been arrested after the lorry terror attack, Sweden's Prime Minister said.

3:16PM

A crash, the screams... and bodies covered in blankets

Pools of blood were visible on the street along with bodies covered in blankets.

Paramedics could also be seen tending to the injured near the truck.

Jan Granroth told Aftonbladet: "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."

3:15PM

Video: Stockholm truck crash surrounded by firefighters

 

3:11PM

Crash comes after trucks used in Nice and Berlin attacks

The Swedish intelligence agency has said "a large number of people have been injured" after the crash.

It comes after trucks were used in terror attacks in Nice and Berlin last year.

3:08PM

Truck was hijacked, brewery company that owns it says

The Local reports that the Swedish brewery company Spendrups, which owns the truck, said it had been hijacked earlier in the day, reports Peter Foster.

"It's one of our distribution vehicles which runs deliveries. During a delivery to the restaurant Caliente someone jumped into the driver's cabin and drove off with the car, while the driver unloads," communication director Mårten Lyth told the TT news agency.

3:02PM

Swedish PM: Everything indicates crash is terror attack

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has said everything indicates that the Stockholm truck crash is "a terror attack".

The Swedish intelligence agency also described the truck crash as an attack not an accident.

2:54PM

Police confirm at least two killed and many injured

Swedish police have confirmed that at least two people have been killed and many injured in the Stockholm incident. It has issued a warning to avoid the city centre. All subway traffic has been shut down.

Emergency services at the scene of the crash in Stockholm

2:46PM

Pictures show lorry crashed into department store

Pictures on social media showed the lorry had crashed into the corner of a department store with its cab on fire.

An Aftonbladet reporter on the scene said police suspected the crash was terror related.

Other reports said bodies had been covered by blankets at the scene of the crash.

2:41PM

Police treating crash as possible terror attack

Swedish Police are treating the incident as a possible terror attack, according to the SVT channel.

The force said it has received information about possible shots being fired, but the information is not yet confirmed.

2:25PM

Swedish radio - three dead 

Sweden's Ekot public radio reports that at least three people have been killed in the crash. 

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