A stabbing attack on the Finnish city of Turku has left two dead and several wounded, the country’s national broadcasting program, YLE, reported on Friday. Police have already shot and arrested a suspect who is now in custody at the hospital.
Witnesses report that the attack happened at two marketplaces near the city center and recall a man running through the crowd with a knife, stabbing people as he passed them. The marketplaces, Kauppatori and Puutori, are fairly close to each other. Witness Laura Laine, who reportedly stood 65 feet from the attack, told YLE, “We heard that a young woman was screaming. We saw a man on the square and a knife glittered. I understood he had stabbed someone.”
Finland’s interior minister, Paula Risikko, stated that the attack was not being investigated as an act of terror. The ministry posted this statement on their website on Friday: “The police are not currently investigating events as a terrorist attack. The responsibility for this investigation has been transferred to the Central Bureau of Investigation.”
Though Finland has historically been a peaceful country, the terrorism threat level was raised in June as officials recognized that there were more serious terrorism-related plans in the area.
Other recent attacks in the Nordic countries include one on Sweden’s capital, Stockholm, which took place in April of 2017, when an Uzbek man drove a hijacked lorry into a large crowd, killing four people.
Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila tweeted, “The government is closely following the events in Turku and the ongoing police operation. The government will meet later today.” This attack has prompted increased security in the area, as well as boosted security at the Helsinki-Vantaan airport and train stations. Additionally, officials have urged the public to stay away from the Turku’s city center.
The city of Turku is about 85 miles west of Finland’s capital, Helsinki, but police have made sure to boost security in the capital too for good measure.
Update, 8/19: In light of recent discoveries, Finnish police are treating Friday’s stabbing attack as acts of terror.