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Police in Finland shoot man after stabbings in city of Turku

The identity and motives of the man who stabbed and killed two people and injured at least six others in the Finnish city of Turku are not yet known. Police have reinforced security nationwide.

Watch video 00:53

Stabbing spree in Finland

Police said a number of people were stabbed in the city of Turku 160 kilometers (99 miles) west of Helsinki on Friday afternoon. At a press conference later on Friday, police said that two people had died in the attack - one at the scene and another later in hospital. Six others were in hospital, some in critical condition.  

A suspect was shot in the legs by police who took him into custody in hospital. Police said the young man was the only suspect and that his motives were unclear. 

"At this stage, there is only one suspect and we are investigating whether there are more people involved ... but it looks likely (he was alone)," said Markus Laine from the National Bureau of Investigation. "At this stage, we do not investigate this (as a terrorism attack) but the possibility has not been ruled out," he told a news conference on Friday evening.

Police told people to stay away from the area in the center of the city.

The Market Square in Turku

The Market Square in Turku

The identity of the suspect has not been revealed. Interior Minister Paula Risikko said: "We have not been able to confirm the person's identity... we have been in contact with the immigration  service as the person looks like a foreigner."

Prime Minister Juha Sipila said: "My deepest condolences to the families and close-ones of the Turku victims. The events of the day are shocking us all."  

Security has been increased at Helsinki airport and at train stations with additional patrols and boosted surveillance. 

Watch video 01:42

Stabbings in Turku: Petri Burtsov, freelance journalist

Terror threat

In June, police said they had carried out an operation in response to the threat of a terror attack targeting the Temppeliaukio Lutheran church in a popular tourist area in the center of the capital Helsinki, less than a kilometer from the Finnish parliament.

"Police became aware of facts that gave a reason to suspect preparation of a terrorist act. According to the information, the Temppeliaukio (Temple square) church would be the target of a possible act. The police launched all possible measures to address the threat," the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said in a statement published on June 19. Built directly into solid rock it is also known as the Church of the Rock and was opened in 1969.

Map of Finland showing Turku, a city west of the capital Helsinki

Map of Finland showing Turku, a city west of the capital Helsinki

Days before, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) raised its threat level saying it had received intelligence of more serious terrorism-related projects and plans in Finland.

Finland has become more concerned about attacks since an Uzbek man drove a hijacked truck into a crowd in central Stockholm in neighboring Sweden in April. 

jm/rt (Reuters, EFE, AP, AFP)

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