Highlights: Man hijacks truck in Stockholm terror attack, rams into department store, kills 4 | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Highlights: Man hijacks truck in Stockholm terror attack, rams into department store, kills 4

A truck drove into a crowd of people outside a busy department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing at least two people, police said.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2017 01:44 IST
Agencies
Ambulance in a street near the site were a truck was driven into a crowd in central Stockholm, killing at least three people.
Ambulance in a street near the site were a truck was driven into a crowd in central Stockholm, killing at least three people.(REUTERS)

A truck drove into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing three people and wounding eight in what the Prime Minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack.

Part of central Stockholm was cordoned off and the area was evacuated, including the main train station. All subway traffic was halted on orders from the police.

“Sweden has been attacked. Everything points to the fact that this is a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters during a visit in western Sweden. He was immediately returning to the capital.

Read | Truck drives into crowds in Stockholm killing three people, Sweden PM calls it ‘terror attack’

Nobody has been arrested in connection with the attack police said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

Several attacks in which trucks or cars have driven into crowds have taken place in Europe in the past year. Al Qaeda in 2010 urged its followers to use trucks as a weapon.

Video | People running from the scene of the incident in Stockholm after a truck rammed into a store:

Follow live updates here:

1:10 am: The person arrested from a north Stockholm suburb has been identified, say Swedish police. He resembles the picture and the 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,” regional police official Jan Evensson told a news conference.

Police also said it had heightened security at Swedish borders.

12.20 am: Swedish police says the death toll has now gone up to four, according to TT news agency.

April 8 | 12.00 am: Aftonbladet newspaper, quoting sources, says a man has been arrested in northern Stockholm and that he has claimed responsibility for the attack.

The man has some light injuries and said he was responsible for the attack, Aftonbladet said citing several unnamed sources.

Police declined to comment.

11.45 pm: Stockholm’s subway service has been cleared to restart after a deadly truck attack earlier in the day, but all bus traffic in the centre of the city remains at a standstill, the public transport authority said.

The authority said trains would not stop at the two stations closest to where the truck attack took place.

11.20 pm: Indian external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj tweets that all embassy officials are safe after the terror attack. She has also listed helpline numbers for those stranded to contact:

11.15 pm: Swedish police said they were interviewing two people in relation to the deadly truck attack.

“I can confirm that we have taken in two people for questioning, but that does not necessary means 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 place of event.”

11.00 pm: Police have restricted traffic on the Oresund Bridge between Sweden and Denmark following the attack.

“Restricted flow at the toll station at the request of Swedish police,” the bridge’s information service said.

10.30 pm: Russian President Vladimir Putin has sent a telegram of condolence to Sweden’s monarch in the wake of the fatal truck crash in Stockholm that officials say was likely a terror attack.

“In our country, people know, and not by hearsay, about the atrocities of international terrorism. At this difficult time, Russians mourn together with the people of Sweden,” Putin said in the message to King Carl XVI Gustaf that was published on the Kremlin website Friday.

Here are reactions from other world leaders.

10.00 pm: Swedish National Rail Company says all trains to and from Stockholm Central Station have been cancelled for the rest of the day due to the truck attack.

9.30 pm: Swedish police do not have the driver of the truck in custody but released a picture of a suspect captured on video surveillance cameras near the scene of the attack.

“We do not have contact with the driver,” national police chief Dan Eliasson told reporters, as another police officer showed a picture of a man wearing a white sweater and dark hoodie under a military green jacket, with dark stubble on his face.

Swedish police released this picture gleaned from surveillance camera footage. (Twitter/Aftonbladet)

Stockholm police has also urged people not to drive into the centre of the city.

8.46 pm: The European Union offered Sweden support and solidarity following the attack.

“An attack on any of our member states is an attack on us all,” said EU chief executive Jean-Claude Juncker. “One of Europe’s most vibrant and colourful cities appears to have been struck by those wishing it – and our very way of life – harm.

Sweden’s Nordic neighbours also expressed their horror.

“Terrible news from Stockholm. Our thoughts are with our neighbours and friends in Sweden,” Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila wrote in Swedish on his Twitter account.

“It hurts deep into my heart that our Swedish brothers and sisters have been exposed to such an abominable attack,” said Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen in a statement.

8.45 pm: Norway’s police announce that security personnel in the largest cities and at Oslo airport will be carrying weapons until further notice in the wake of the attack.

Police officers in Norway, which borders Sweden, do not usually carry guns on them. In Finland, police increased patrols in the capital Helsinki.

Read | In pics: Panicked citizens run for cover as cops, emergency services swing in to action in Sweden

8.40 pm: Facebook activates its Safety Check feature.

8.30 pm: Swedish police spokesman now says that they cannot confirm that anybody has been arrested in Stockholm in connection with the attack.

“No one has been arrested currently,” the police said in a statement. “Given what has happened in other parts of Europe, we cannot currently exclude that this is a terrorist crime.”

8.25 pm: The Indian Embassy in Sweden tweets helpline numbers for any Indian national affected by the attack. They are requested to contact the embassy on 08-4117090, 08-107008.

8.20 pm: Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweets, condemning the attack in Stockholm. “My thoughts are with the families of the deceased and prayers with those injured.”

8.15 pm: Swedish police has ordered the evacuation of the central train station in Stockholm after a truck drove into a crowd in a nearby pedestrian street, news agency TT reported, citing property owner Jernhusen.

8.00 pm: The Spendrups brewery, to whom the truck reportedly belongs, confirmed to Stockholm newspaper Dagens Nyheter that the truck involved in the attack was theirs. Communications director Mårten Lith is quoted as saying that the driver of the truck made a delivery to the Caliente restaurant to a side street off Drottninggatan.

When the driver was about to unload the truck, a person got in and drove away and the vehicle is considered stolen.

Police officers work at the scene where a truck crashed into the Ahlens department store at Drottninggatan in central Stockholm. (AFP Photo)

7.50 pm: News agency TT, quoting Swedish police, says three people are confirmed dead in the truck attack.

Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven also says one person has been arrested in truck department store crash, reports the Associated Press.

7.42 pm: ANI now tweets that the incident happened just a few metres from the Indian Embassy. They also quote a witness as saying: “I was in a nearby store on Drottninggatan street when the attack happened, there was a lot of chaos, people crying.”

7.39 pm: Aftonbladet news outlet posted this image of Stockholm police escorting a suspect away from the scene:

7.40 pm: The truck is claimed to be owned by the Spendrups brewery, Aftonbladet news reported.

“We have not got hold of the driver. We know nothing about what is happening,” Spendrups Communications Director Mårten Lyth told them.

7.37 pm: Stockholm police tweets, urging people to stay at home.

7.33 pm: “Saw two people lying on street, heard loud noises, saw three others injured, helicopters flying: Indian Ambassador to Sweden Monika Mohta tells ANI.

7.32 pm: Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven says everything indicates truck crashing into department store is “a terror attack”. “The Government is being kept up-to-date and is doing everything it can to assist the relevant authorities in their work. I encourage everyone to be vigilant and to pay attention to the information from the police.”

Swedish intelligence agency says “a large number of injured” when truck crashes into Stockholm department store.

7.30 pm: Reuters now reports, quoting a Swedish security official, that at least two people were killed and many were injured when a truck drove into a crowd in the centre of Sweden’s capital Stockholm.

7.20 pm: The attack happened 100 metres from the Indian Embassy in Stockholm. According to embassy sources, all embassy staff - local and Indian - are reported to be safe.

7.15 pm: Reuters also now reports that three people have been killed in the incident.

At the request of police, all train services connecting Stockholm Central Station have been suspended, says Transport Agency in a press release.

7.10 pm: Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet quotes an eyewitness: “I saw hundreds of people running for their lives.”

According to a Sveriges Radio reporter at the scene, at least three people are believed to have been killed. Swedish broadcaster SVT says shots have been fired. The Swedish news agency TT says several people have been rushed away in ambulances, and live television footage showed smoke coming out of the department store that the truck smashed into.

7.00 pm: Reuters witness reports that “body-like forms” seen covered by blankets at scene of the incident in central Stockholm. Reuters also reports that Swedish television footage shows the truck sticking out the side of the department store.

6.50 pm: Thick smoke was rising from the scene, while video images showed an area blocked off by police and crowds gathering around the police cordon. Helicopters could be heard hovering in the sky over central Stockholm, and a large number of police cars and ambulances were dispatched to the scene, witnesses said.