A vehicle has run over people on Drottninggatan in central Stockholm. Four people are dead and 15 victims are treated at local hospitals after a truck drove into crowds of people along Drottninggatan just before 3 p.m. local time.
Three victims were killed immediately when the truck drove through the pedestrian section of Drottninggatan. Late in the evening local time Swedish hospital administrators confirmed one of the attacker's victims had died at the hospital and 15 were hurt including two children. Six patients were released from the hospital early Saturday while nine seriously injured remain.
One Uzbek man has been arrested suspected of terrorism. He was apprehended in the early hours of Saturday in Märsta, 30 minutes north of Stockholm. Swedish police have been able to trace the suspect and alleged driver of the truck from the collision with Åhléns City to the Arlanda Express and then south to Märsta. Authorities are still investigating other possible accomplices behind the attack. Security has been stepped up and tighter border controls are in place.
A stolen beer truck ran over people on Drottninggatan in central Stockholm shortly before 3 p.m. local time, just before 9 a.m. EST on Friday, April 7. The truck, which had been hijacked earlier in the day, later smashed into the Åhléns department store before reaching Klarabergsgatan where it started to burn. Reporters on the scene said that there were dead and injured people on the ground. There were also later denied reports of shooting around Hötorget and Åhléns City.
Sweden's Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén immediately said "Sweden is under attack. Everything points to this being a terrorist attack." During a later press conference the Prime Minister stressed "[We are] an entire country gathered in grief, anger and determination. I would today like to address those of you who mourn someone you have lost or are worried about someone who is hurt ... you should know - all of Sweden is with you." Löfvén further confirmed that the police are investigating the attack as a terrorist crime, and that whether it is performed by an organization or a sole perpetrator, the goal of terrorism is to undermine democracy. "But such acts will not succeed in Sweden," said the Prime Minister. He said that Sweden today has shown its strength and he praised both the police, health care services and the people of Stockholm that opened up both their homes and workplaces. "You are the pride of Sweden," he said.
The subway system was closed and the central station emptied but all public transportation was up and running again in the early morning Saturday.
Drottninggatan is one of Stockholm’s busier streets on any day and the incident happened at one of its busiest times. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.
We spoke with our friend and former colleague Nadine Kugel, who was locked in for two hours on the third floor of a house along Drottninggatan. Nadine tells us “I was sitting by a window to the street when I heard a big bang and screams from the ground. As I looked outside I could see someone bleeding heavily and another person not far away. My first thought was that something had happened at the construction site nearby but people were panicking in the street … running, screaming and looking further down Drottninggatan. That’s when I realized that the cement barriers to the pedestrian part of Drottninggatan had been damaged and pushed aside.”
The office where Nadine works was being evacuated while we were in contact with her two hours after the attack.
Swedish television reports live at www.svtplay.se as does Swedish Radio at www.sverigesradio.se