STOCKHOLM – An apparent stolen beer truck plowed into a department store Friday in central Stockholm, killing at least three people in what the country’s prime minister said appeared to be a terrorist attack.
The Associated Press reports that Stockholm police have raised the toll in the beer truck attack to 4 dead, 15 wounded.
The AP also reports that Swedish police have launched a nationwide manhunt for the person or persons who drove the beer truck down a pedestrian street in the Swedish capital and crashed it into a department store Friday afternoon.
Authorities imposed sweeping security measures, including closing off streets and shutting down transit lines – in scenes recalling last month’s terrorist assault in London. Sweden’s prime minister, Stefan Lofven, said the immediate indications suggested “an act of terrorism.”
“Sweden has been attacked,” Lofven said in a Twitter post. “All indications are that it is an act of terrorism. Be vigilant, and listen to the Police information.”
One witness described seeing a woman with a severed foot and people either running in panic or staying to help amid pools of blood.
Sweden’s TT news agency quoted the communications director for the brewing company Spendrups as saying that the vehicle used in the incident was one of their delivery trucks, and that it had been stolen earlier in the day.
At a restaurant delivery “someone jumped into the driver’s cabin and drove off with the car while the driver unloaded,” said communications director Marten Lyth, according to TT.
Swedish security services said at least three people were killed. A statement from Sweden’s intelligence agency said “a large number” of people were injured.
Images on social media showed hundreds of people running along the street after the crash. Smoke rose from the front of the store, located in the upscale Ahlens City retail hub in the heart of Stockholm.
Shoppers were locked inside stores after businesses triggered their automatic security locks. The attack occurred just before 3 p.m. on a mild spring afternoon, when the city’s central district is customarily buzzing with shoppers, office workers and bicyclists.
An hour after the attack, police evacuated travelers and others from the central train station near the crash site.
“It’s not safe here,” police announced, using loudspeakers in the station, according to Ahmed Abd el Latif, a witness.
Another witness, Annevi Petersson, said she first noticed a dead dog with its owner screaming.
“There was a lady laying with a severed foot. There was blood everywhere. There were bodies on the ground everywhere,” she told the BBC. “And a sense of panic. People standing by their loved ones, but also people running away.”
The incident comes just a little over two weeks after a man plowed an SUV into a crowd of pedestrians on a London bridge, then stabbed a police officer at the gates of Parliament. The assailant killed five people, including a woman who died Friday from her injuries after having been knocked off the bridge and into the River Thames.
Last year, trucks were also used in deadly rampages through crowds at a Berlin Christmas market and along Nice’s waterfront during France’s Bastille Day in July.