STOCKHOLM, Sweden- At least two people were killed when a truck was driven into pedestrians on the busiest street in the center of Stockholm, the Swedish Security Service said.
A large number of people were injured in the attack, which happened just before 3 p.m. local time on Friday. People were seen fleeing the area in panic.
Police in Stockholm have urged people to stay at home and avoid the city center. Parliament and the Stockholm subway were placed in lockdown. All train services in and out of Stockholm Central Station were halted and people were evacuated, the Swedish state railway company said.
“Many things point to this being a terror attack,” Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven told reporters in Sweden.
The Prime Minister was returning to the capital from the west of the country, his spokesman Erik Nises told CNN.
Local media reported that the truck used in the attack had been hijacked earlier. Security services launched an investigation into whether more than one people were involved in carrying out the attack.
“Plenty of people have been injured and some have died in the attack that just hit Stockholm,” said Nina Odermalm Schei, head of press for the security service.
“We are still trying to determine who the attacker was, if the attack was carried by one or more people, and the number of injured.”
She declined to say the attack was terrorism: “We are treating it as an attack, without specifications.”
Carl Bildt, the former prime minister of Sweden, wrote on Twitter: “Steal a lorry or a car and then drive it into a crowd. That seems to be the latest terrorist method. Berlin. London. Now Stockholm.”
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO, said: “My heartfelt sympathies go to all those affected. We stand with the Swedish people in their grief.”
The Swedish Security Service first received notification at 2.55 p.m. on Friday that a truck had been driven into a crowd on Drottninggatan in Stockholm, a press officer told CNN.
Intensive intelligence work was underway in order to identify the person or persons behind the attack, the spokesman said.
The US embassy in Stockholm told US citizens to avoid the area of the attack.
Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf said in a brief statement that the Swedish royal family had noted the apparent attack in central Stockholm “with dismay” and sent condolences to the families of the victims and injured.
“We follow developments but as of now our thoughts go to the victims and their families,” he said.
In neighboring Finland, President Sauli Niinisto said he is shocked by the “maniac act of terror” in Stockholm.
“Every terror attack is to be equally condemned. But it touches us deeply when such an attack takes place in our Nordic neighborhood,” Niinisto said in a statement.
The attack joins a growing pattern of vehicles being used to launch attacks on pedestrians.
Last month, a man rammed into crowds on Westminster Bridge in London, killing three people before stabbing a policeman to death outside Parliament.
A fifth victim, Andreea Cristea, who was knocked off the bridge and into the River Thames below, died after her life-support was switched off on Thursday afternoon.
In July 2016, more than 80 people were killed and over 200 injured when a terrorist used a 20-ton truck to plough into crowds who had gathered in Nice to watch Bastille Day fireworks.
Last December, 12 people were killed and at least 48 people were wounded when a truck drove into a Christmas Market in Berlin.