Three have life-threatening wounds after Sweden ax attack


STOCKHOLM — Hospital officials say three people wounded in an assault by a man using an ax in southern Sweden are in life-threatening condition and police have reduced the overall number of victims to seven.

The suspected assailant, a man in his 20s, was shot, arrested and is being treated in a hospital, police said. A press conference was expected later Thursday on the attack.

The other victims of Wednesday’s assault in the small town of Vetlanda, 190 kilometers (118 miles) southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second-largest city, include two seriously injured people, two with moderate injuries and one who is slightly injured, the Jonkoping region said in a statement late Wednesday.

The attack took place in the afternoon and police say there are five crime scenes in Vetlanda, a town of 13,000. The man’s motive was not immediately known.

Police said the man, who they would not identify in line with Swedish policy, is known to them for petty crimes. Overnight, officers raided an apartment where he was reportedly staying. The Expressen tabloid said the suspect was a 22-year-old man from Afghanistan.

Sweden’s Home Affairs Minister Mikael Damberg told broadcaster SVT on Thursday that the case was being investigated as attempted murder but all aspects would be considered, including whether it was a terror attack.

“It is obvious that you look at whether there are terrorist motives behind it, you have to get to the bottom of it,” he said.

Regional police chief Malena Grann said police were investigating whether there were any terrorist motives in the case.

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