By: VOA News
Source: VOA News
Swedish police have identified the man they arrested who they suspect was the driver of a truck that killed four people, as a 39-year-old from Uzbekistan.
Police told reporters Saturday that the man was previously known to Swedish intelligence.
“The arrested man was not part of any of the security police’s ongoing investigations. However, he is a person who has previously figured in our intelligence flow,” head of the Sapo security police, Anders Thornberg, told reporters Saturday.
The police also confirmed that a “suspicious device” was found in the truck which plowed into pedestrians outside a busy department store in Stockholm Friday, killing four and injuring 15 others.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said the incident was certainly a “terrorist attack.” He later visited the site of the attack to place a bouquet of roses and light a candle. “The aim of terrorism is to undermine democracy,” he said. “But such a goal will never be achieved in Sweden.”
The attack was the latest in a string of similar assaults involving vehicles in Europe, including in Nice in the south of France, London and Berlin. Supporters of Islamic State claimed responsibility for the previous attacks.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack.
Photos taken at the scene show the vehicle was a truck belonging to beer maker Spendrups, which said its truck had been hijacked earlier in the day.
Witnesses say the truck drove straight into the entrance of the Ahlens Department Store on Drottninggatan, the city’s biggest pedestrian street, sending shoppers screaming and running. Television footage showed smoke coming out of the store after the crash.
Following the attack, Stockholm’s central train station was evacuated and nearby buildings were locked down for hours. Police say they have increased security at the country’s borders.
Sweden’s King Carl Gustaf expressed his condolences for the victims and their families in a brief statement.
“We follow developments but as of now our thoughts go to the victims and their families,” he said. The king cut short a visit to Brazil on Friday to return home.
A number of European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel and London’s mayor, Saddiq Khan, have released statements indicating their solidarity with Sweden.
“One of Europe’s most vibrant and colorful cities appears to have been struck by those wishing it – and our very way of life – harm,” said European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
“Attack on any of our (EU) member states is an attack on us all.”
French President Francois Hollande voiced his “horror and indignation” over the assault. Paris’ Eiffel Tower went dark for five minutes Friday to honor the victims of the attack.
In neighboring Finland, President Sauli Niinisto called the attack a “maniac act of terror,” while Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen said it was a cowardly attempt “to subdue us and the peaceful way we live in Scandinavia.”
The U.S. State Department also condemned the attack, adding, “Attacks like this are intended to sow the seeds of fear, but in fact they only strengthen our shared resolve to combat terrorism around the world.”