Sweden faces its ‘worst peacetime attack’ in Stockholm

By Alexis Bell
Staff Writer

A hijacked beer delivery truck in Stockholm plowed into pedestrians and an upscale department store on April 7, killing four and injuring 15, Bloomberg reported.

This was Sweden’s “worst peacetime attack,” the same source reported.

The suspect remains in custody while a trial is pending. (AP Photo)

The attack occurred on Drottninggatan, or Queen Street, a popular destination lined with shops in a pedestrian-only section of the street, according to NPR.

In a news conference on April 9, officials identified the suspect as 39-year-old Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov, who had applied for residency in 2014, but was denied and ordered to leave Sweden, NPR reported.

“We know that he has shown sympathy for extremist organizations like (the Islamic State),” said Jonas Hysing, chief of national police operations, according to NPR.

A hearing occurred at the Swedish capital on Tuesday, April 11. Akilov’s lawyer, Johan Eriksson, said Akilov did not speak in court and will remain in custody pending a trial, CNN reported.

The suspect “confesses to the terror crime, and he agrees with the detention order,” said Eriksson, according to CNN.

According to the same source, Court President Malou Lindbolm said Akilov must be formally charged by May 11.

“We will not bow down to terrorism. Sweden will be an open and safe country,” said Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, according to Bloomberg.

The victims of the attack were honored in a moment of silence and a makeshift candle memorial on Monday, April 10, The New York Times reported.

“Our unity will always be stronger than the forces that seek to tear us apart. Our way of life will never be suppressed. Our democracy will triumph over freedom,” Lofven said, according to The New York Times.

Stockholm is the most recent of several European cities that have been targeted in similar attacks. A terrorist in London drove a car into pedestrians last month, while trucks plowing through crowds killed many last year in Berlin and Nice, France, Bloomberg reported.

Lofven recognizes the demonstration of the strength of Sweden and its people in the midst of the attack’s aftermath.

“In these 24 hours, Sweden has shown itself from its best side. Helping each other, supporting each other, opening their homes to others. And that shows the strength of our country. No one can ever take that strength away from us,” Lofven said, according to Bloomberg.