Police in Sweden have arrested a man in connection with a terrorist attack that left at least three people dead after a stolen beer truck was driven into a crowded shopping street before crashing into a department store. The attack took place on Drottninggatan, Stockholm’s busiest shopping street at around 3 pm local time. Videos and photos posted to social media show pedestrians running in fear from the site of the attack; others show injured people being treated by emergency services nearby. The affected area was cordoned off by police, train services have been cancelled for the rest of the day, and security has been enhanced around sensitive locations in the city.
A Swedish brewery called Spendrups said that the truck used in the attack had been stolen earlier in the day during a delivery. At a press conference police released a CCTV image of a hooded man who they said they were looking for. It is unclear whether the person in the photo is the same man who has now been arrested. “Sweden has been attacked. All indications are that it was a terrorist attack. Our thoughts are with the victims, their families and those injured,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said in a statement.
Reacting to the news, Jean-Claude Juncker, the President of the European Commission said, « 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. An attack on any of our member states is an attack on us all. »
This is the third terrorist attack using a vehicle to result in a loss of life in Europe in less than a year. In July 2016 a cargo truck plowed into pedestrians celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice killing 86 people. Last Christmas 12 people were killed and 56 injured in Berlin when a hijacked truck drove into a market. And last month in London six people including the attacker and one police officer were killed when a car sped into pedestrians on Westminster bridge before crashing into the gates of the Houses of Parliament. The last victim of that attack, a Romanian tourist who was rescued unconscious from the river Thames after being thrown over the bridge by the impact of the car died in hospital today.
The so-called Islamic state, which has urged its followers to use crude weapons such as knives and cars, have claimed responsibility for more than 100 deaths in Europe over that last year. As of yet, nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack in Stockholm.