Uzbek man main suspect in deadly Swedish truck attack

Uzbek man main suspect in deadly Swedish truck attack

Uzbek man main suspect in deadly Swedish truck attack

AFP photo

A 39-year-old Uzbek man being held in custody is the suspected driver of a hijacked beer delivery truck that ploughed into crowds in central Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15 in an apparent terror attack, police have said.

The man, previously known to Swedish intelligence services as a marginal figure with no clear links to extremist groups, is suspected of mowing down pedestrians on a busy shopping street and smashing through a store front on April 7.

“Nothing indicates that we have the wrong person, on the contrary, suspicions have strengthened as the investigation has progressed,” Dan Eliasson, head of Sweden’s national police, told a news conference on April 8.

The man, detained late on April 7 on terrorism charges after the attack in the heart of the capital, appeared to have acted alone but “we still cannot rule out that more people are involved,” he said.

Police raided several addresses in the Stockholm area on Saturday, according to TT news agency and tabloid Aftonbladet, but told Reuters no further arrests in connection with the attack had been made. A Reuters witness saw police wearing protective masks carrying out a search at an apartment in a southern Stockholm suburb.

Court-appointed lawyer Johan Eriksson told Reuters he had met with the suspect on April 7 but declined to give further details about his client. Police did not name the detainee, but said he was from the  central Asian republic of Uzbekistan and that he had seemed peripheral in intelligence reports.

“We received intelligence last year, but we did not see any links to extremist circles,” Sapo security police chief Anders Thornberg said. Eliasson said there were “clear similarities” to an attack last month in London in which six people died, including the assailant who drove a hired car into pedestrians on a bridge. Vehicles have also been used as weapons in Nice and Berlin in the past year in attacks claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and and the Levant (ISIL). 

Local authorities in Stockholm, where flags flew at half mast, said 10 people including a child were still being treated in hospital, with two adults in intensive care.

Uzbek Abdulkadir Masharipov attacked a nightclub in Istanbul during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, killing 39 people in the early hours of Jan. 1.