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Vetlanda: Swedish PM denies links with migration after Afghan knife attacker stabs seven people

According to confirmed information, the suspected perpetrator in the possible terrorist attack in Vetlanda was the 22-year-old Afghan asylum seeker Tamim Sultani. He came to Sweden as an "unaccompanied refugee child" and had managed to stay in Sweden thanks to the so-called high school amnesty. Despite the fact that this is a migrant who came to Sweden and stayed there thanks to the government's migration policy, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven announced that the act had nothing to do with migration.

Published: March 7, 2021, 9:22 am

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    The attack in Vetlanda on Wednesday, where seven people were stabbed by an Afghan asylum seeker, is now classified as attempted murder. Prosecutor Adam Rullman announced that the incident was no longer being investigated as a crime with terrorist motive. The perpetrator has not yet been questioned about his motive, but has only been told what he is suspected of.

    “I can say this in general terms that we have a close cooperation with the police, and we also do in this case, but it is the police who have the preliminary investigation, so it is they who answer that question,” Security Police press chief Gabriel Wernstedt told Fria Tider.

    Tamim Sultani injured seven people, three of them seriously, in a knife attack in the town in southern Sweden. A witness to the act, who himself was involved and performed life-saving measures on one of the stabbed victims, told Aftonbladet that he was trying to stop the bleeding from a man with a large wound in his stomach.

    “He had a big hole in his stomach. I pressed both my hands against the hole,” the witness said. “The man had defended himself against the attack and had wounds on his hands as well,” the witness continued.

    Police confirmed during a press conference on Thursday that Sultani received non-life-threatening injuries after he was shot in the left leg by police who had tried to protect themselves. It was also confirmed that it was a knife attack and that the perpetrator was armed with a knife when he was arrested. They were also forced to carry out a life-saving operation when the Afghan bled heavily from the gunshot wound.

    “He (the perpetrator) was armed at the time of the intervention. He carried a knife. He was shot and hit in the leg,” said Jonas Lindell, local police area chief in Höglandet. “The shot had the intended effect and the perpetrator could be arrested. The police on the spot took action and stopped the bleeding on the perpetrator.”

    The seven injured in Vetlanda are all men born between 1945 and 1985. The police say that there are no connections between the perpetrator and the victims, and they were probably selected completely at random.

    According to Martin Takac, medical director of surgical care, three of the victims had life-threatening injuries and a total of five have been cared for in intensive care for their injuries from the attack. It was also announced that medical staff had succeeded in stabilizing the worst injured so that no one was currently in a life-threatening condition.

    “All patients today are stable. No one is life-threateningly injured now. Everyone, including the perpetrator, is still in hospital,” Takac added.

    According to the population register, Tamim Sultani moved to Vetlanda last year. According to information from SVT, he came to southern Sweden in 2016 in connection with the extensive mass immigration to Sweden of so-called “unaccompanied refugee children”.

    He applied for a residence permit in February 2016 and was first granted a temporary residence permit as “alternatively in need of protection” by the Swedish Migration Board in October 2017. He was then placed in an HVB home in Småland and from there he moved to one of the Swedish Migration Agency’s residences in Jönköping County.

    His applications for a residence permit have since been extended as a result of “high school amnesty” that the government introduced to prevent Afghan men from being sent home. The most recent application for an extension came in November 2020. According to the Swedish Migration Board, no decision had been made on that application yet.

    According to information from Fria Tider, during his time in Sweden he studied in high school to learn the alphabet, but did not pass any courses. Njudungsgymnasiet’s social educator Agneta Kjellgren explained to Fria Tider what the course entails: “Literacy means that you learn the alphabet. You must know the alphabet to be able to learn to read and write.”

    The man has been convicted of minor drug offenses twice, in 2019 and 2020 and has not worked or supported himself during his years in Sweden, and neither has he learned any Swedish.

    On Thursday, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven commented on the suspected terrorist attack via a live press conference. A reporter from TT wanted to know how Löfven felt about the anti-immigration party, the Sweden Democrats (SD) repeating the demand to stop immigration because it had become a burden for Sweden. The SD had demanded a “complete stop to all asylum-and family immigration, including quota refugees”.

    Löfven then replied that the act had nothing to do with migration, despite the fact that it was an asylum-seeking migrant from Afghanistan who committed the act, in Sweden, as a direct result of migration.

    “The Sweden Democrats are just speculating. We will await the police investigation. In the future, motives will be investigated. This is not a migration issue that SD wants to make it. It is about whoever did this being judged for it,” said Stefan Löfven.

    SD boss Jimmie Åkesson commented on Twitter: “Horrifying what happened in Vetlanda. It is still far too early to draw any definite conclusions, but the fact that the police are now classifying the incident as a suspected terrorist crime reminds us of how vulnerable our society is. Right now our thoughts are with those affected.”

    Gustav Kasselstrand, party leader for Alternatives for Sweden, commented: “With our policy, the terrorist in Vetlanda would never have been in Sweden.”

    A later report by citizen-journalist Joakim Lamotte said that the attacker was alleged to have shouted “Allahu Akhbar” during his stabbing spree.

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