Eight injured in frenzied axe attack

Authorities in Sweden are investigating whether an attack in the southern city of Vetlanda was an act of terrorism after a man armed with a "sharp weapon" believed to be an axe went on a frenzied rampage.

The man, aged in his 20s, was shot in the leg by police on Wednesday afternoon local time after injuring eight people, including three who have suspected life-threatening injuries and are being treated in hospital.

Speaking at a press conference, regional police chief Malena Grann later clarified that a preliminary investigation was still under the designation "attempted murder," but details had emerged that meant they were also looking into "potential terror motives".

 

 

"There are details in the investigation that have led us to investigate whether there was a terror motive," Grann said, without giving details.

The Prime Minister, Stefan Löfven, echoed those comments.

"In the light of what has emerged so far in the police investigation, prosecutors have initiated a preliminary investigation into terrorist crimes," he said.

"We face these despicable actions with the combined force of the community," Mr Löfven said. "We are reminded of how frail our safe existence is."

A local woman in the city of 13,000 told broadcaster SVT she saw the man running from the scene as she returned home from work.

"I had just gotten to my apartment when my best friend wrote me and said: "Don't go out!," the woman said

Local police chief Jonas Lindell told media they had identified five different crime scenes, a few hundred metres apart and that the suspected attacker was a resident of the area.

 

 

He said the suspect was previously known to police but had only been suspected of "petty crimes".

The extent of the suspect's injuries were not immediately known but local media reports say he was shot in the leg.

Swedish intelligence services consider the terrorist threat to be high. The Scandinavian country has been targeted twice by attacks in recent years.

In December 2010, a man carried out a suicide bomb attack in the centre of Stockholm. He was killed after only slightly injuring passers-by.

In April 2017, a rejected and radicalised Uzbek asylum seeker mowed down pedestrians in Stockholm with a stolen truck, killing five people. He was sentenced to life in prison.

 

- With AFP

Originally published as Eight injured in frenzied axe attack