Sweden attack: Terrorism suspected after mass stabbing in Vetlanda

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A man has injured eight people, three seriously, in a stabbing attack in a south Swedish town which police are treating as suspected terrorism.

The assailant, who is in his twenties, struck in five different locations in the centre of Vetlanda around 15:00 (14:00 GMT), police say.

Within minutes he was shot and wounded by police, and is now in custody.

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said the “horrific violence” was a reminder of “how frail our safe existence is”.

“We face these despicable actions with the combined force of the community,” he posted on Facebook.

Extra police officers have been put on patrol in the area.

What do we know of the attack?

Five different crime scenes, a few hundred metres apart, were identified, local police chief Jonas Lindell said.

One eyewitness, florist Asa Karlqvist, told local newspaper Vetlanda-Posten: “We heard a scream from the street. Then we saw a man enter the store, shouting that he had been stabbed.

“Blood was pouring from his shoulder, so we got towels and applied pressure on the wound.”

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Local resident Olivia Strandberg told broadcaster SVT she had seen from her window the suspect being taken away.

“I had just gotten to my apartment when my best friend wrote me and said, ‘Don’t go out!'” she said.

No details were given of the weapon used.

Detectives initially said they had classified the attack as attempted murder but later announced they had opened a terrorist investigation and were working closely with the Swedish security police.

According to the local police chief, the suspect is a resident of the area and previously known to police but in the past he was only suspected of “petty crimes”, AFP news agency reports.

Has Sweden seen other attacks?

The terrorist threat level has been “elevated” since 2010 – level three out of five.

Two attacks have targeted the capital Stockholm:

  • In December 2010, an Iraqi-born jihadist carried out a suicide bomb attack in the city centre, only slightly injuring passers-by
  • In April 2017, a failed Uzbek asylum seeker who sympathised with the Islamic State group used a stolen lorry to kill five people on a pedestrian street.
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