UPDATED 9:12 AM PT – Friday, March 5, 2021
Authorities are investigating the motive behind an axe attack in Sweden. On Thursday, the Eastern Region deputy police chief, Carina Lennquist, confirmed the recent mass-stabbing in the small town of Vetlanda was committed by an Islamist migrant.
“The suspect that we have in custody right now is 22-years-old and he lives here in Vetlanda,” she stated. “He is originally from Afghanistan and he’s been living here for some years, what we know.”
The suspect went on a rampage with a knife and an axe, stabbing seven people on Wednesday before he was shot and wounded by the police. Authorities asserted he’s already facing charges on seven-counts of attempted murder, but a counter-terrorism investigation is still underway.
“We have to look in many directions and one of them is a possible terrorist attack, so we haven’t closed that,” Chief Lennquist explained. “What we suspect right now, I can’t really tell you, but we have cooperation with Europe, with the Swedish National Police.”
Mainstream media have tried to deny the attack’s connection to migrant violence, but the head police officer of Jonkoping Region, Malena Grann, said they are looking into the suspect’s ties to ethnic crime networks and terror-cells.
“We are investigating a possible terror motive,” he stated. “The motive is an important part of the investigation and that would influence a different crime classification and that is why the motive is very important, but at the moment the case is classified as attempted murder.”
Three victims faced life threatening wounds while two were seriously injured and three suffered light to moderate injuries. That’s according to the surgical care director of Jonkoping Regional Hospital.
This incident follows a 2017 incident in Stockholm in which an Uzbek migrant who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State drove a truck into crowds of shoppers. Five people were killed before the driver crashed into a department store. The perpetrator of that attack, Rakhmat Akilov, was arrested and later sentenced to life in prison.
An investigation into Sweden’s latest possible terrorist attack is ongoing and officials said they will continue providing updates.