Stockholm attack suspect sympathetic to Islamic State, police say

Author

10 April, 2017

Killed in the attack were two Swedes, one Brit and one Belgian.

Local newspaper Aftonbladet reports the man is a 39-year-old father of four who lives in the Stockholm area but is an Uzbek citizen.

The suspected Stockholm truck attacker had shown interest in extremist groups and was facing deportation after being refused residency, Swedish police said on Sunday.

He had also expressed sympathies for extremist Islamist groups, said the head of Sweden's national police.

He had applied for permanent residency in 2014, but this was rejected, and in December 2016 he was given four weeks to leave the country, police chief Jonas Hysing told a press conference.

Police spokesman Lars Bystrom said earlier on Saturday: "The person in question has been arrested as the culprit, in this case the driver".

The Foreign Office in London confirmed that a British man, 41-year-old Chris Bevington who was a top executive at Sweden-based music streaming company Spotify, was among the dead.

It was the second terror attack in Stockholm. "Then, there can be other people who are associated with him, but we do not know that at the current time".

The 39-year-old man from Uzbekistan was known to security services and remains in custody.

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Police had been looking for him since the Swedish Migration Agency in December previous year gave him four weeks to leave the country. In Brussels, the Belga news agency said the Belgian woman had been reported missing before she was identified by her identity papers and later by DNA testing. Sweden's SAPO security police said it was working to find "any abettor or network involved in the attack". More than 20,000 people attended the vigil.

Thousands of people were to gather in central Stockholm Sunday for a "Lovefest" vigil against terrorism. "We must close the borders, throw everyone out, '" said Ulf Lundgren, a clergyman at Stockholm Cathedral.

"We are supporting his family in Sweden and in the UK".

Ten of the 15 people injured, including a child, are still being treated in hospital, with two adults in intensive care.

Papusa Ciuraru, whose foot was crushed by a boulder displaced by the speeding truck, told the Expressen daily "I thought everyone would run past me and save themselves".

Another five people were being held for questioning after raids during the weekend and police said that they had conducted about 500 interviews as part of the inquiry. They said the suspect had been on their radar before but not recently, and did not explain why authorities apparently had not considered him a serious threat.

The lion-shaped boulders on Drottninggatan are meant as roadblocks and have been put up in several European capitals after a truck attack a year ago killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.

He is suspected of driving a stolen beer truck down a busy pedestrian street mowing down shoppers before smashing into the facade of the Ahlens department store. The store has apologized and remained closed Sunday.

The Ahlens store cancelled a planned half-price sale of smoke-damaged goods and apologised after a storm of protest on social media that this would be disrespectful to the victims.


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