Sweden observes minute’s silence for truck attack victims

People observe a minute of silence to remember the victims of Friday’s attack on Drottninggatan, Stockholm
Picture: TT NEWS AGENCY/Christine Olsson via Reuters

Sweden on Monday observed a minute of silence for the victims of last week’s truck attack by an Uzbek man whom police believe is a jihadist sympathiser.

A solemn ceremony was held outside Stockholm’s City Hall, under grey and rainy skies with flags flying at half-mast, attended by Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, King Carl XVI Gustaf and most of the royal family, as well as other representatives of Swedish society.

After the minute of silence, the Swedish army’s music corps played a solemn piece then Stockholm Mayor Karin Wanngard gave an address.

“We will never give in to violence. We will never let terror prevail,” Wanngard said, adding: “Stockholm will remain an open and tolerant city.”

To the families of the victims, Prime Minister Lofven said: “You are not alone, we are thinking of you. All of Sweden stands with you.”

In Friday’s attack, the assailant ploughed a stolen beer truck down a bustling pedestrian street in the heart of Stockholm before crashing it into the facade of the busy Ahlens department store.

Four people were killed and 15 were injured.

Outside the department store, a huge crowd also observed the minute of silence, some visibly moved with tears streaming down their cheeks.

The motive for the attack was not known, but the method resembled previous attacks using vehicles in London, Berlin and Nice, all of them claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group.

The main suspect has been identified as a 39-year-old Uzbek who went underground when he received a deportation order after his permanent residency application was rejected.

Swedish media have identified the suspect as Rakhmat Akilov, a construction worker and father of four.

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