A large beer truck crashed into an upscale department store in central Stockholm on Friday, killing at least two people, according to Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, who called the crash a terror attack.
People in the downtown area fled in panic, and Stockholm’s Central Station for trains and the subway, which is a few hundred yards from the scene, was evacuated.
He also said a person has been arrested, but gave no further details. Images from the scene showed a beer truck sticking out of the department store, even as a Swedish daily reported that one of beer maker Spendrups trucks was carjacked earlier today. The incident also took place near the Indian embassy in Stockholm. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.
Broadcaster SVT said at least five people were killed in the attack while Swedish radio reported three dead, but police could not immediately confirm those reports. The country’s intelligence agency said a large number of people were wounded in the crash.
Live television footage showed smoke coming out of the upscale Ahlens department store on Drottninggatan Street, which the truck smashed into. The department store is part of Sweden-wide chain.
Part of central Stockholm was cordoned off and the area was evacuated. Large numbers of police and emergency services were at the scene.
“Sweden has been attacked,” Lofven said in a nationally televised press conference. “This indicates that it is an act of terror.”
Sweden’s head to state, King Carl Gustaf, expressed horror at the attack. “Our thoughts are going out to those that were affected, and to their families,” he said in a statement from the royal palace.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi tonight condemned the attack in Stockholm and said India stands firmly with the people of Sweden in this hour of grief. “We condemn the attack in Stockholm. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with those injured,” he tweeted. “India stands firmly with the people of Sweden in this hour of grief,” he added.
Vehicles have been common weapons in recent extremist attacks.
Last month, in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group, a man drove into a crowd on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing three people and injuring many others before stabbing a policeman to death. He was shot dead by police. A fourth person, a woman thrown into the Thames by the force of the car attack, died Thursday.
The IS group has also claimed responsibility for a truck attack that killed 86 people in Nice, France, in July during a Bastille Day festival and another truck attack that killed 12 people at a Christmas market in Berlin.