Great Britain

Man armed with axe injures eight in possible terrorist attack in Sweden

A man armed with an axe has attacked and injured eight people in a southern Sweden town in what authorities called a suspected terrorist crime.

Police said the man in his 20s attacked people in the small town of Vetlanda, about 190 km (118 miles) southeast of Göteborg (Gothenburg), Sweden’s second largest city, on Wednesday afternoon. His motive was not immediately known.

The man was taken into custody after being shot in the leg by police, who said the condition of those attacked and of the perpetrator was not immediately known. Officials did not provide details on the identity of the suspect, who was taken to hospital.

Sweden attack

The prime minister, Stefan Löfven, said a possible terrorist motive was being investigated.

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

Shortly after his statement, investigators said they had started a preliminary investigation into attempted murder with details “that make us investigate any terrorist motives.”

“But at the moment I cannot go into details,” the regional police chief, Malena Grann, said.

The local police chief, Jonas Lindell, said “it seems that the injuries are not life-threatening” but could not give further details.

The events took place in downtown Vetlanda, with police saying they received calls just after 2pm GMT about a man assaulting people with an axe. Police also said that there were five crime scenes in this town of roughly 13,000 people.

Lofven condemned “this terrible act”, and added that Sweden’s domestic security agency, Sapo, was also working on the case.

“They continuously assess whether there are reasons to take security-enhancing measures and are prepared to do so if necessary,” he said in a statement.

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