Finland stabbings probed as 'murder with possible terror motive'; suspect under armed guard

A suspect detained accused of stabbing two people to death in a knife attack in Finland is being investigated over murder with possible terrorist intent.

The dead from the apparently indiscriminate attack on Friday in the western city of Turku are Finnish citizens, while the eight wounded include one Italian and two Swedes, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said.

Police have identified the suspect, an 18-year-old Moroccan citizen who was subdued with a shot in the thigh, but have not released his name.

He is in hospital under guard. Four other people were detained and held overnight in relation to the case, public broadcaster YLE reported.

Police said they were working with colleagues from law enforcement abroad.

The NBI said others involved in the investigation were the Finnish Security Intelligence Service, police in Turku and the European Union's police agency, Europol.

It was not known if the attack was linked to the decision in June by the Finnish Security Intelligence Service to raise its threat assessment to the second level of a four-step scale.

At the time, it cited the Nordic country's "stronger profile within the radical Islamist propaganda".

Finland was considered part of the coalition against the Islamic State group, it said.

Three of those wounded are still in intensive care, news agency STT, citing the hospital in Turku, said.

Four remain at the hospital and four have been released.

A man visiting from Sweden said he was stabbed in the arm and tried to help another victim who died.

"I tried to stop the violent bleeding from her throat ... The woman was so badly injured that she died in my arms," Hassan Zubier told the Expressen tabloid.

Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat said one of the dead was a woman belonging to the local chapter of Jehovah's Witnesses who was handing out leaflets at a central Turku square.

A spokesman for the religious group told the tabloid they believed the woman was randomly attacked.

Flowers and candles have been placed on a square in Turku and Finnish flags flew at half-mast across the country.

"We need to stick together now, hate is not to be answered by hate," Prime Minister Juha Sipila said in a tweet.

- AP

KEYWORDS: Terror attack


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