STOCKHOLM, April 8. /TASS/. Swedish police detained two men over Friday’s deadly truck attack in Stockholm’s downtown Drottninggatan shopping street, local media reported.
At around 3pm local time, a hijacked beer truck drove 550 meters down the busy pedestrian street and smashed into the Ahlens department store, leaving at least four people dead and more than a dozen injured, according to police estimates. Live television footage showed smoke coming out of the department store, and several people were rushed away in ambulances. The police has started "a preliminary investigation of suspected terrorist crimes."
Shortly after the attack, police released an image of a hooded man wearing a green jacket whom they searched in connection with the attack. However, the police stopped short of formally identifying him as a suspect.
Sweden’s official TT news agency quoted a police source as saying that "one person was detained for a certain role in the attack."
According to the Aftonbladet newspaper, a 39-year-old man of the Uzbek descent was detained by a police patrol in the district of Marsta about 25 miles north of the Swedish capital. The man was reportedly registered in another suburb of Stockholm and, according to one of his acquaintances, was employed as a construction worker and had four children.
Media reports suggested he had previously posted propaganda videos by the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia) on his Facebook page.
"He never talked about politics or religion. The only thing that he talked about was how to find more work and send more money to his family," the paper quoted the acquaintance as saying.
Another man was detained in a large-scale police operation in the immigrant-heavy Hjulsta neighborhood north of Stockholm, the Expressen newspaper reported.
According to the report, the effort involved a dozen of police cars. The handcuffed man was taken away by a police vehicle. No official information from the Swedish authorities or law-enforcement bodies is available so far.
Meanwhile, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven announced that the country was tightening security at its borders over the attack.
"Today we decided to enhance border control. Terrorists will not determine the way we live, and they will never win," the TT agency quoted the minister as saying.
A Swedish defense and counter-terrorism expert Magnus Ranstorp described the move as a possible manhunt for several suspects in a TT interview.
"It means (either) that that several possible suspects are under suspicion, or that the detainee was not the perpetrator," said Ranstorp, a research Director at the Center for Asymmetric Threat Studies (CATS) at the Swedish National Defence College. "In this environment, there is always a risk that several people have taken part (in the attack)."
According to the expert, who has worked closely on terrorism and counterterrorism issues with a special focus on Islamist extremism over the past 20 years, the events in Stockholm mirror attacks in Nice and Berlin, when trucks were also used as weapons.