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Finnish police wound jihadist on stabbing rampage after he kills two

Police in Finland on Friday identified a knife attacker as a Moroccan jihadist. Europe is already on high alert following twin attacks in Spain.

Published: August 19, 2017, 4:19 pm

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    Finnish police confirmed on Saturday that the knife attack in Turku, killing two people and injuring eight others, was an act of a jihadist. They are treating the attack as terrorism, they say. The suspect arrived in Finland in 2016 and had been “part of the asylum process”, according to the police.

    Police shot and wounded the attacker in the thigh only minutes after he randomly started stabbing innocent people in a market square on Friday afternoon.

    The attacker went on the stabbing rampage with “terrorist intent,” police said in a statement. The wounded include an Italian national and two Swedes.

    The attacker was identified as an 18-year-old Moroccan. He was admitted to hospital for treatment as a result of a gunshot wound to the leg. The suspect is being kept in hospital under armed guard.

    Finnish law enforcement arrested five more suspects in an overnight raid on an apartment in Turku. In June, the country’s terror threat level was raised from “low” to “elevated”, the second of four levels.

    “We are investigating the role of these five other people but we are not sure yet if they had anything to do with [the attack] … We will interrogate them, after that we can tell you more. But they had been in contact with the main suspect,” detective superintendent Markus Laine of the National Bureau of investigation told AFP.

    The Finnish Security Intelligence Service (SUPO) said the attack was “a likely terror act”. Pekka Hiltunen of SUPO told reporters on Saturday that the agency was investigating the suspects’ connections to ISIS, because the Islamic State group “has previously encouraged this kind of behavior”.

    This week saw two twin car ramming terror attacks in Barcelona and the seaside town of Cambrils that killed 14 people and wounded more than a hundred. The suspects are being described as belonging to a terror cell are of Moroccan origin.

    ISIS has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack.

    Finland’s president, Sauli Niinisto, visited Turku and condemned what he called a “shocking and cowardly act”.

    A woman who witnessed the stabbing, told Reuters: “First thing we heard was a young woman, screaming like crazy. I thought it’s just kids having fun … but then people started to move around and I saw a man with a knife in his hand, stabbing a woman.

    “Then a person ran toward us shouting ‘he has a knife’, and everybody from the terrace ran inside. Next, a woman came in to the cafe. She was crying hysterically, down on her knees, saying someone’s neck has been slashed open.”

    On Saturday morning, an unidentified attacker injured eight people in a knife attack in the Siberian city of Surgut, TASS reported. Surgut is 2 000km north-east of Moscow in the oil-rich Khanty-Mansi region.

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