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Stockholm Police Say One Held Over Truck Attack


Emergency services work at the scene where the truck crashed into the Ahlens department store in central Stockholm.

Swedish police say a man has been arrested near the city’s international airport after a suspected terror attack in Stockholm that killed four people, but they did not say if they think he was the driver of a stolen beer truck that smashed into a crowded department store in the city center.

Police late on April 7 said they had arrested a man "we are particularly interested in" after the attack, which also injured 15 people.

Police said the man resembles the person shown in a photo released by authorities earlier from a surveillance camera near the scene of the attack. The photo showed a man wearing a white sweater, a dark hoodie, and a green military jacket at the top of an escalator.

Jan Evensson of the Stockholm police told reporters the man was arrested in the northern Stockholm suburb of Marsta, near the city’s Arlanda International Airport. He asked the public for information on the man in the photo.

He said the man had been "in the vicinity" of the truck crash when it occurred around 3 p.m. local time.

The Aftonbladet newspaper reported earlier that a man with "slight injuries" had been arrested in Marsta and had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Radio Sweden said police do not believe he was the driver of the truck but is being questioned in connection with the attack, although police did not officially comment on the details.

Police also said earlier that they were questioning two people in connection with the attack but cautioned that they were not necessarily suspects. It was not clear if the person detained was one of the two being questioned.

'Sweden Has Been Attacked'

The Swedish capital was reeling after the deadly attack on the Ahlens department store in the Stockholm city center.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but authorities were treating it as a terrorist attack.

"Sweden has been attacked. This indicates that it is an act of terror," Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven. “The country is in a state of shock."

He vowed that terror will not be allowed to undermine Sweden's democracy.

Lofven later said the country was strengthening its border controls for at least the next 10 days in reaction to the attack.

Police also said it appeared to be an act of terror. "Given what has happened in other parts of Europe, we cannot currently exclude that this is a terrorist crime," a police statement said..

The Aftonbladet newspaper quoted a spokesman for the Spendrups brewing company as saying the truck involved in the incident had been stolen while the driver was unloading goods during a delivery earlier in the day. The company said the driver was safe.

Truck Drives Into Store In Stockholm, Causing Fatalities
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WATCH: Truck Drives Into Store In Stockholm, Causing Fatalities

A witness told Aftonbladet that the truck came "out of nowhere."

"I couldn't see if anyone was driving, but it was out of control. I saw at least two people get run down. I ran as fast as I could away from there," he said.

Television footage showed smoke coming out of the upscale Ahlens department store on the city's pedestrian street Drottninggatan after the truck smashed into the store at about 3 p.m. local time.

Police asked locals to avoid the center of the city and shut down the city's subway system for several hours. It was later reopened.

Authorities ordered the evacuation of the nearby central train station, although they did not say why. Officials of national rail company SJ said all trains to and from Stockholm's central station would be canceled for the rest of the day as a result of the attack in the city.

Sweden's King Carl XVI Gustaf said the royal family viewed the attack "with dismay."

“We follow developments, but as of now our thoughts go to the victims and their families," he said.

International Reaction

Among the early reactions from abroad, a spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel issued a statement saying: "Our thoughts go out to the people in Stockholm, to the injured, their relatives, rescuers and police. We stand together against terror."

Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Union’s chief executive, said, “"We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with the people of 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,” he added.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country on April 3 suffered its own terrorist attack when 13 people were killed by a suspected suicide bomber in St. Petersburg's subway system, sent a note of condolences to the Swedish king.

"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.

Sweden's Scandinavian neighbors reacted by increasing security in public areas.

Norwegian police said officers at the Oslo airport and in in the country's major citieswould be carrying weapons until further notice following the Stockholm attack. Norwegian police normally do not carry weapons.

In Finland, police in the capital, Helsinki, said they were increasing patrols.

There have been several recent terrorist attacks involving vehicles ramming crowds in Europe, all of them claimed by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist organization.

Five people died as a result of a knife-and-vehicle attack in London on March 22.

On December 19, 12 people were killed and 48 injured when a truck was driven into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin.

In July 2016, 86 people were killed when a truck slammed into crowds in the French city of Nice.

With reporting by AP, dpa, AFP, the BBC, and Reuters
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