One arrest made, authorities say, hours after stolen truck drives into crowd outside department store; intelligence services say ‘there are deaths, and many injured’
STOCKHOLM — A truck crashed into an upscale department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing at least two people, according to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who said all indications were that it was a terror attack. One person was arrested.
Swedish radio put the death toll at three.
“Sweden has been attacked,” Lofven said. “This indicates that it is an act of terror.”
Swedish broadcaster SVT said shots were fired at the scene, though it wasn’t clear by whom and police said they could not confirm that.
The incident occurred just before 1300 GMT at the corner of the store and Drottninggatan, the city’s biggest pedestrian street, above ground from Stockholm’s central subway station. The department store is part of Sweden-wide chain. The building includes several stores at street level.
Thick smoke was rising from the scene, while video images showed an area blocked off by police and crowds gathering around the police cordon.
Police vans circulating in the city using loudspeakers urged people to go straight home and avoid large crowds.
“We stood inside a shoe store and heard something … and then people started to scream,” witness Jan Granroth told the Aftonbladet daily. “I looked out of the store and saw a big truck.”
Photos from the scene showed a beer truck sticking out of the department store, and Aftonbladet daily reported that Swedish beer maker Spendrups said one of its trucks had been carjacked earlier Friday.
Friday’s incident is near the site of a December 2010 attack in which Taimour Abdulwahab, a Swedish citizen who lived in Britain, detonated a suicide bomb, killing himself and injuring two others.
Abdulwahab rigged a car with explosives in the hope that the blast would drive people to Drottninggatan — the street hit Friday — where he would set off devices strapped to his chest and back. The car bomb never went off, and Abdulwahab died when one of his devices exploded among panicked Christmas shoppers.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack, but vehicles have been common weapons in recent extremist attacks. Last month, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, a man drove into a crowd on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing three civilians and injuring many others before stabbing a policeman to death. A fifth person, a woman thrown into the Thames by the force of the car, died Thursday.
The IS group has also claimed responsibility for a truck attack that killed 86 people in Nice, France, in July and another that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.