A national moment of silence at Sergels torg. Foto: TT

The terror attack in Stockholm – this has happened

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It’s a few minutes before three o’clock in the afternoon on Friday the 7th of April when a truck mows down the crowd that every day fills Drottninggatan, one of the more popular pedestrian streets in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

The truck has been hi-jacked a few blocks away from the crime scene and is driven at high speed for 500 meters, before it crashes into the perfume section in the department store of Åhléns and catches fire. Eyewitnesses describe downtown Stockholm as a ”war zone”.

Four people are confirmed dead. Two are Swedish females, one of which is an eleven-year-old girl on her way home from school. The other casualties are the Briton Chris Bevington, who has worked in Stockholm for a number of years, and the Belgian woman Maïlys Dereymaeker who were in the city visiting friends. According to the Stockholm police, all next of kin have been notified.

Another fifteen people are injured, four of them seriously. Five days after the attack, seven people are still at hospital, two of them under intensive care.

The Swedish Security Service regards the event as a terror attack

The police find an ”incendiary device” in the truck’s driver’s compartment. The Swedish Security Service regards the event as a terror attack, and at the border crossings, exterior border controls are established.

All public transport is cancelled and tens of thousands are stranded. Some decide to walk home. At the hash tag #openstockholm, citizens offer lift and housing for those unable to make their way home.

A number of large buildings in Stockholm are evacuated, among them Kulturhuset, the sky scrapers at Hötorget and several large shopping malls.

A 39 year old man detained

On Friday evening, a 39 year old man named Rakhmat Akilov is detained in Märsta, north of Stockholm. He resembles the man on the photo that was released shortly after the attack. The suspicions against him are heightened during the weekend, and he is detained on probable cause for having committed a terrorist crime.

Another person is detained on Sunday afternoon, suspected on reasonable grounds, of a terrorist crime by murder.

The 39-year old is an Uzbek citizen, who has applied for residential permit in Sweden but been denied. The case was transferred from the Swedish Migration Agency to the Stockholm police after the man absconded. Neither the Migration Agency nor the Security Service supplied the police with any particular information regarding the man. On the 24 of February, a warrant for the man’s arrest is issued by the police.

Manifestation of love two days after the attack

On Sunday at 14:53, exactly two days after the attack, there is a large manifestation of love on Sergels torg, very close to the crime scene on Drottninggatan. Tens of thousands gather to show their love and support and to honour the victims with a moment of silence.

On Monday at 12 o’clock, a national moment of silence is held in honour of the victims. In several places across the country, people gather to grieve together. The Royal Family and the Prime Minister are present outside Stockholm City Hall.

Three days after the attack, Rakhmat Akilov is arrested on probable cause, suspected of terrorist crime. On Tuesday, Akilov admitted guilt and agreed to be arrested, his lawyer said.

Lawyer Johan Eriksson spoke outside the Stockholm District Court minutes before the court decided to continue the detention of Rakhmat Akilov. He said Akilov ”acknowledges the terrorist charge and agrees to be arrested.”

About a hundred investigators, analysts and experts on cybercrime partake in the inquiry into the attack, which is expected to take up to one year.
 

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