Finnish police say they are ‘quite certain’ they know Turku terrorist attacker’s identity

Reuters

Finnish police raided an apartment in the southwestern city of Turku on Friday evening and said it was “quite certain” it had identified the attacker who killed two people and wounded eight during a stabbing rampage earlier in the day, local media reported.

The raid occurred just before 10 p.m. after police located a suspected vehicle, a white Fiat Ducato, whose owner lived in a building located in eastern Turku’s Varissuo suburb, Finnish newspaper Ilta-Sanomat reported.

A number of people were arrested during the night as the Nordic country investigated their possible link to the attacker of a now “quite certain identity,” Finnish news agency SST said.

“We are investigating what their role is in this. Whether they had something to do with this act, or if they were just involved with this person (the suspect),” Detective Superintendent Markus Laine was quoted saying of those arrested.

It is unclear if any of the arrests were made when the apartment was raided.

On Friday afternoon, a knife-wielding man went on a stabbing rampage at a market square in Turku, before being shot and arrested, police said shortly after the attack.

It was uncertain if the police were looking for more suspects related to the attack or if more raids would follow later Friday night. Police warned people to stay away from the city and reinforced security nationwide.

Patrols and surveillance increased after the stabbings, in case more attackers were involved. People were allowed to return to the city center a few hours later.

People laid candles and flowers at the scene of the attack in the evening.

A witness said she had seen a man stabbing a woman and other people crying about what they had seen after running away in terror.

Laura Laine, who saw the stabbing from a nearby outdoor cafe, also returned to the square.

“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,” she said.

“Then a person ran toward us shouting ‘He has a knife,’ and everybody from the terrace ran inside.

“Next, a woman came into the cafe. She was crying hysterically, down on her knees, saying someone’s neck has been slashed open.”

The eight wounded were taken to hospital, police said.

“The act is utterly deplorable and an exceptionally serious violent offense in the Finnish context — it is deeply shocking for us all,” Prime Minister Juha Sipila said in a statement after holding a conference call with his government.

Varissuo suburb, Turku’s largest, is home to a large immigrant population and is located about 7 km (just over 4 miles)away from the market square where the attack took place.

Finland is usually peaceful but the Security Intelligence Service raised the terrorism threat level in June to elevated from low, saying it had become aware of terrorism-related plans in Finland.

The government has grown more concerned about attacks, partly since an Uzbek man killed four people in neighboring Sweden in April by driving a hijacked truck into crowd in central Stockholm.