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Stockholm terror suspect confesses

April 11, 2017

The main suspect in last week's fatal attack has admitted to a 'terrorist crime,' his lawyer has told a Swedish court. So far, no extremist groups have claimed the incident.

Schweden Usbeke gesteht Anschlag vor Haftrichter in Stockholm
Image: Reuters/A. Ringstrom

The man suspected of plowing a truck into a shopping center in Stockholm last week, killing four people, confessed to the attack on Tuesday. 

"His position is that he admits to a terrorist crime and accepts therefore that he will be detained," Johan Eriksson the lawyer representing Uzbek national Rakhmat Akilov said in a court hearing to decide whether he should be kept in jail pending formal charges. The judge decided to remand the suspect into custody until May 11, unless prosecutors ask for an extension while they build the case.

Read: A sad weekend in Stockholm

Media reports had suggested that Akilov had sympathies for the so-called "Islamic State" (IS) terrorist organization. However, unlike similar vehicle attacks in Berlin, Nice, and London however, IS has not claimed the incident.

Since ramming the hijacked vehicle into Ahlens department store, claiming four lives and injuring 15, it has emerged that Akilov had been issued a deportation order, but evaded authorities and went underground. National police Commissioner Dan Eliasson said "there was nothing in the system that indicated (he) would do something like he did on Friday."

A second man was also detained over the attack, but has since been released.

Stockholm vows to remain tolerant

Sweden held a nationwide minute of silence for the victims on Monday, one Briton, a Belgian, and two Swedes, including an 11-year-old girl. A huge crowd assembled outside Ahlens department store, laying candles and flowers and thanking police officers, who have been widely praised for their swift response to the situation.

"We will never let terror prevail," said Mayor Karin Wanngard at an official memorial held in city hall and attended by Prime Minister Stefan Lofven and the royal family. "Stockholm will remain an open and tolerant city."

The purpose of Tuesday's hearing was to officially remand Akilov into custody pending formal charges. Authorities have asked for a similar hearing for the second suspect to take place no later than Wednesday.

es/rt (AFP, dpa)