At least two people succumbed to injuries while several others were injured when a man went on a stabbing spree in the city of Turku, even as Finnish police shot and arrested the suspect, according to AFP. The police have taken the man into custody after he was reportedly shot in the leg. Meanwhile, police have warned people to stay away from the scene. There have been no reports of any casualties as of yet. Police in Finland further said that the man who’s in custody is likely to have acted alone, but they are not ruling out the involvement of other people.
The incident was reported from the Puutori-Market Square area. Turku, where the incident took place, is situated in Finland’s southwest and located at least 140 km west of capital Helsinki. Finnish Police have also reinforced security and Helsinki Airport and train stations following the stabbing incident.
Finland’s interior minister said that the security has been stepped up across the country. President Sauli Niinisto who visited Turku later on Friday, condemned the incident and called it a “shocking and cowardly act.” He said officials are doing what they can “so that all Finns are able to feel safe.”
Police made the announcement on Twitter, also warning people to leave and avoid central Turku. Earlier, police said they shot one man in the leg who was suspected of stabbing several people. Finnish broadcaster YLE says several people were seen lying on the ground in the central part of the city.
Tabloid Ilta-Sanomat says six people were injured, one man and five women, and that a woman with stroller was attacked by a man with a large knife.
MTV3 television reported that police have raised security at Helsinki airport and at train stations. The stabbing spree comes with Europe on high alert a day after drivers slammed into pedestrians in twin attacks in Spain, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 100 others. The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack.
“The government is following the situation in Turku closely and a police operation is under way,” tweeted Prime Minister Juha Sippila ahead of a cabinet meeting. In 2012, Finland’s then-prime minister Jyrki Katainen escaped a knife attack in Turku while campaigning for municipal elections.
The man who approached him carrying a knife was found to be psychologically disturbed and no charges were brought against him
(With inputs from agencies)