4 Dead, 15 Injured In Latest Truck 'Terror Attack'by Jana Ritter - Published: 4/07/2017
In February, President Trump stated that Sweden’s tolerance of immigrants would eventually lead to an extremist attack, similar to France and Berlin. On Friday, his prediction unfolded in a tragic truck 'terrorist' attack that left 4 people dead and 15 seriously injured.
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“Sweden has been attacked,” said Prime Minister Stefan Lofven in a televised address. “This indicates that it is an act of terror.”
The attack occurred Friday afternoon just before 3 p.m. in a busy shopping district in Stockholm. A Spendrups beer truck was parked on the street while the driver was out of the vehicle unloading and delivering beverages to a restaurant. Suddenly, he noticed a masked man was in the driver’s seat of the truck with the obvious intention of stealing it. The truck driver said he tried to stop the hijacker as soon he realized what was going on but had to jump out of the way when the suspect attempted to run him over. “We can confirm that the truck was stolen during an unload of products,” said Spendsrups spokesperson, Rose-Marie Hertzman. “The driver was just finishing the unload and a man came running up and hijacked the car and drove away."
The suspect proceeded to plow the truck into the crowds of people along the busy street knocking down poles, sign and statues along the way. He then crashed the truck through the entrance of a department store located at the end of the block and immediately fled the scene. Within minutes the entire shopping district erupted in chaos, panic and bloodshed. Fire alarms went off inside the store as black smoke billowed from the vehicle and shoppers ran for the nearest exits.
"I turned around and saw a big truck coming towards me. It swerved from side to side. It didn't look out of control, it was trying to hit people," Australian tourist Glen Foran told reporters.
"It was like he was driving through paper. It's like it was nothing. I can't even believe how a person could do such a thing. And then he just kept on going. I was in shock," said another witness.
“We were running, we were crying — everyone was in shock,” added Katarina Libert who had been trying on clothes in the department store when it was attacked. “We rushed down the street, and I glanced to the right and saw the truck. People were lying on the ground. They were not moving.”
Swedish authorities worked fast to find the attacker(s) in a nationwide manhunt. Within hours they released a surveillance photo of a suspect in a green hoody coming up an escalator located near the attack site. Police also brought at least two other individuals in for questioning but did not confirm if they were suspects in the attack. In a later news conference, Police spokesperson Jan Evensson confirmed they arrested a man who looked like the person in the surveillance camera photo. Early the next morning, officials reported the arrest of a second man in connection with the attack. Some reports indicate one of the men confessed his involvement and another report said the suspected attacker was a 39-year-old father-of-four from Uzbekistan. However, details about the suspects and their affiliations have yet to be confirmed by officials.
The incident follows a recent trend of commercial trucks being used to attack crowded public areas in European cities. Last year in France, a man drove into a crowd on a busy promenade during Bastille Day celebrations. In December, another attacker murdered a truck driver to hijack his truck and then plowed it into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. Last month, a man drove a vehicle into pedestrians on Westminster Bridge in London.