The “truck attack” in Stockholm
I don’t know why this is a shock to anyone. Guess they have been living under a rock.
From AP: Much like the flags on the Stockholm skyline — some still flying half-staff, others at their peak — people here were divided over their country’s friendly immigration policies two days after an asylum-seeker from Uzbekistan allegedly killed four people in the city’s deadliest extremist attack in years.
The Swedish capital was slowly, but resolutely, regaining its normal rhythm Sunday as details about the 39-year-old suspect emerged. Police said he had been ordered to leave Sweden in December after his request for a residence permit was rejected six months earlier.
Instead, he allegedly went underground, eluding authorities’ attempts to track down and deport him until a hijacked beer truck raced down a pedestrian street and rammed into an upscale department store on Friday.
“It makes me frustrated,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told Swedish news agency TT on Sunday. The suspect, who has been detained on suspicion of terrorist offenses, was known known for having “been sympathetic to extremist organizations,” Jonas Hysing of Sweden’s national police said.
A second person was arrested on the same potential charge Sunday, and four others were being held by police. None of them have been identified.
Security officials in neighboring Norway, where a 17-year-old asylum-seeker from Russia was detained early Sunday in connection with an explosive device found near a busy subway station, spoke of the alarming potential for a copycat effect.
Norwegian’s security agency said it wasn’t clear if the teen planned to carry out an attack with the primitive homemade device police defused without any injuries. Agency head Benedicte Bjornland said it was likely the youth had been inspired by recent attacks in Stockholm, France, Germany, Britain and Russia.
“The attacks demonstrate how easy such attacks can be carried out, and prove to others that it is possible to make something similar,” Bjornland said.
Sweden has long been known for its open-door policy toward migrants and refugees. But after the Scandinavian country of 10 million took in a record 163,000 refugees in 2015 — the highest per-capita rate in Europe — the government has tried to be more selective about which newcomers it allows to stay.
Swedish police said Sunday they had received roughly 12,500 referrals from the Swedish Migration Board of people who, like the suspect in the truck attack, had overstayed their welcome. The suspect eluded authorities by giving police a wrong address after his residency request was rejected in June 2016, said Hysing, the operative head of the attack investigation. “The efforts to locate (these people) is both time-consuming and resource-intensive,” he said.
National Coordinator Against Violent Extremism Anna Carlstedt, who used to lead the Red Cross in Sweden, said Friday’s attack and the background of the suspect posed “difficult questions.”
“Do we somehow need a more repressive policy?” Carlstedt said. “I think it is very important now not to rush into something, to see how we can safeguard this open society and still be able to protect ourselves.”
The range of mixed emotions — fear and fraternity, anger and openness, — also surfaced at memorial services and rallies held in Stockholm on Sunday to honor the attack victims.
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