A truck has ploughed into a crowd on a shopping street and crashed into a department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing four people and wounding 15 in what the Swedish Prime Minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack.
Swedish police said they had arrested one person after earlier circulating a picture of a man wearing a grey hoodie. They did not rule out the possibility that other attackers were involved.
“We have a person who is arrested who may have connections to the event in Stockholm earlier today,” police spokesperson Towe Hagg said.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
“I turned around and saw a big truck coming toward me. It swerved from side to side. It didn’t look out of control, it was trying to hit people,” Glen Foran, an Australian tourist in his 40s, told Reuters.
“It hit people, it was terrible. It hit a pram with a kid in it, demolished it,” he said.
“It took a long time for police to get here. I suppose from their view it was quick, but it felt like forever.”
Part of central Stockholm was cordoned off and the area was evacuated, including the main train station. All subway traffic was halted on police orders. Government offices were closed.
“Sweden has been attacked. Everything points to the fact that this is a terrorist attack,” Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters during a visit to western Sweden. He was immediately returning to the capital.
Many police and emergency services personnel were at the scene, said a Reuters witness who saw policemen put what appeared to be two bodies into body bags.
Vehicles as Weapons
Several attacks in which trucks or cars have driven into crowds have taken place in Europe in the past year. Al Qaeda in 2010 urged its followers to use trucks as a weapon.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack in Nice, France, last July, when a truck killed 86 people celebrating Bastille Day, and one in Berlin in December, when a truck smashed through a Christmas market, killing 12 people.
Magnus Ranstorp, head of terrorism research at the Swedish Defence University, told Reuters the attacker’s approach was similar to those in Berlin and Nice: “Hijacking a truck, that has happened before.”
“And this is a pretty cunning modus operandi,” he said. “To drive to Ahlens (department store) and stop … There is a way down to the subway just a few meters away from there, and then you … can jump on any train you want and quickly disappear.”