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Several People Seriously Injured in Attack in Southern Sweden

In the afternoon of Wednesday, March 3, Swedish police received an alert stating that a person was attacking people with a weapon (reported by some media as a knife and by others as an axe) in the central city of Vetlanda, close to the rail station. At least seven people were hurt during the attacks, some receiving serious injuries. The injured parties, who were attacked and stabbed during the incident, are all male, born between 1945 and 1985 and domiciled in the municipality of Vetlanda.

Several police patrols were summoned to the crime scenes and managed to seize a suspect, who is a male in his twenties. Local broadcaster SVT said he is an Afghan national now resident in Sweden who is known to police for petty crimes. Police later confirmed that the suspect is a 22 year old citizen of Afghanistan. 

In connection with the apprehension an officer discharged his service weapon, injuring the suspect. The suspect was subsequently apprehended and is presently receiving hospital care for his injuries.

The crime investigation is at an early stage and in progress. Initially police were considering terrorism motives but official statements now say it is an “attempted murder” investigation.

The Swedish National Police Commissioner, Anders Thornberg, said he is awaiting results of the investigation to find out underlying motives and causes.

Police Region Öst has declared a regional major incident and is on-site in Vetlanda. The town of Vetlanda, which has a population of over 13,000, is located approximately 215 miles southwest of Stockholm.

Public attacks are relatively rare in Sweden, but in August 2015, Eritrean Abraham Ukbagabir fatally stabbed two people in an IKEA store in Västerås, eastern Sweden, as revenge for not being granted asylum. In October 2015, Ukbagabir was found guilty of two first degree murders and was sentenced to life, as well as permanent extradition.

This story was updated on March 10 to include updates from Polisen (Swedish Police).

Kylie Bielby
Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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