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Stockholm truck attack: Police say arrested driver acted alone

A 39-year-old Uzbek man being held in custody is the suspected driver of a hijacked beer delivery truck that plowed into crowds in central Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15 in an apparent terror attack, police said on Saturday.

4 killed, 15 wounded in what prime minister has called a terrorist attack

The stolen beer truck used in the deadly attack was removed from central Stockholm several hours after several pedestrians were struck by the vehicle. (Maja Suslin/AFP/Getty Images)

A 39-year-old Uzbek man being held in custody is the suspected driver of a hijacked beer delivery truck that plowed into crowds in central Stockholm, killing four people and wounding 15 in an apparent terror attack, police said on Saturday.

The man, previously known to Swedish intelligence services as a marginal figure with no clear links to extremist groups, is suspected of mowing down pedestrians on a busy shopping street and smashing through a store front on Friday.

"Nothing indicates that we have the wrong person, on the contrary, suspicions have strengthened as the investigation has progressed," Dan Eliasson, head of Sweden's national police, told a news conference.

The man, detained on Friday night on terrorism charges after the attack in the heart of the capital, appeared to have acted alone but "we still cannot rule out that more people are involved," he said.

Police raided several addresses in the Stockholm area on Saturday, according to TT news agency and tabloid Aftonbladet, but told Reuters no further arrests had been made.

Court-appointed lawyer Johan Eriksson told Reuters he had met with the suspect on Saturday but declined to give further details about his client.

Police did not name the detainee, but said he was from the central Asian republic of Uzbekistan and that he had seemed peripheral in intelligence reports.

The attack on Drottninggatan Street killed four people and injured 15 others. (Anders Wiklund/AFP/Getty Images)

Similarities to London attack

"We received intelligence last year, but we did not see any links to extremist circles," Sapo security police Chief Anders Thornberg said.

Eliasson said there were "clear similarities" to an attack last month in London in which six people died, including the assailant who drove a hired car into pedestrians on a bridge.

Vehicles have also been used as weapons in Nice, France, and Berlin in the past year in attacks claimed by Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack in Sweden, which until now had been largely immune from major attacks and where many take pride in an open, democratic society.

"I think it was just a matter of time, but still one doesn't think it will happen," Cecilia Hansson, a 25-year-old nurse, said. "It's still unreal when it happens this close."

Well-wishers place flowers at a makeshift memorial outside the Ahlens department store on Saturday. (Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

Police said they had found a suspicious device in the vehicle, which ended up rammed into the Ahlens department store, but they did not yet know if it was a homemade bomb, as reported by public broadcaster SVT.

Local authorities in Stockholm, where flags flew at half mast, said 10 people including a child were still being treated in hospital, with two adults in intensive care.

Sweden will hold a minute's silence at midday on Monday to mourn the dead. Police said they were maintaining a heightened presence, fearing copycat attacks.

A gaping hole in the wall of the store showed the force of the impact from the truck, which was removed overnight for examination by forensics experts, and people gathered to pay their respects and leave flowers.

Leaders defiant

Prime Minister Stefan Lofven visited the site and struck a defiant tone.

"All of us feel anger over what has happened, I also feel the same anger, but we also need to use that anger for something constructive and go forward.

"We want — and I am convinced the Swedish people also want — to live a normal life. We are an open, democratic society and that is what we will remain."

Sweden's King Carl Gustaf, who broke off a trip to Brazil and quickly returned home after the attack, addressed the nation in a televised speech from his home at Stockholm's palace.

Swedish King Carl Gustaf broke off a trip to Brazil and quickly returned home after the attack, addressed the nation in a televised speech from Stockholm's palace. (TT News Agency/Jonas Ekstromer/Reuters)

"Those of us who want to help are many more than those who wish to harm us," said the monarch, wearing a dark suit and black tie. "Sweden is, has long been and will continue to be a safe and peaceful country."

The attack was the latest to hit the Nordic region after shootings in the Danish capital Copenhagen killed three people in 2015 and the mass attack in 2011 by far-right extremist Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people in Norway.

A failed suicide bombing in December 2010 killed an attacker only a few hundred yards from the site of Friday's incident.

For decades, Sweden has been among the most generous nations to immigrants. But some Swedes are having second thoughts after more than 160,000 people, many from Syria, applied for asylum in 2015 in a nation of just 10 million.

Sweden has since tightened its borders and asylum numbers have slowed to a trickle. Support for the opposition far-right Sweden Democrat party, which links worries about education, welfare costs and crime with immigration, has continued to rise.

"We have warned about such incidents ... but we do not want to score any political points today," Julia Kronlid, vice chairman of the party, told Reuters.

In February U.S. President Donald Trump falsely suggested there had been an immigration-related security incident in Sweden, to the bafflement of Swedes.

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