Fatal Knife Attack in Finland Being Investigated as Terrorism

A memorial for the victims of the stabbing attack in Turku, Finland, on Friday.
Markku Ojala/European Pressphoto Agency

A knife attack that killed two people and wounded eight others in southwestern Finland is being investigated as a terrorist attack apparently aimed at women, Finland’s National Bureau of Investigation said on Saturday.

The suspect, who was shot after the attack in Turku and hospitalized with a leg wound, is an 18-year-old Moroccan, the bureau said on Twitter. At a news conference on Saturday afternoon, the police said he had been in Finland since last year and was seeking asylum. They said he would be questioned at the hospital as soon as possible.

Four other suspects, also Moroccan citizens, have been arrested in Turku, and a search warrant was issued for a sixth. A car was also seized as part of the investigation, the police said.

The knife attack killed two Finnish women. The wounded — five women, two men and a 15-year-old girl — were Finns, an Italian, a Swede and a Briton.

Crista Granroth, an official with the National Bureau of Investigation, said that it seemed that the attacker had deliberately gone after women, and that the men had been wounded while trying to stop him.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila said Finland had “feared something like this, but we have been prepared.”

“We are no longer an island,” Mr. Sipila added.

The assault in Turku, a city of more than 180,000, began in a main square when a man stabbed a woman, the authorities said. The assailant then ran to another square, where the police apprehended him and took the knife.

Wali Hashi, a journalist who saw the episode, said in an interview that a group of people chased the knife-wielding man, who was screaming “God is great” in Arabic. The police declined to confirm whether the assailant had been yelling in Arabic.

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SOURCE: NY Times, Christina Anderson