Ikea sus­pects were asy­lum seek­ers


The two sus­pects in a knife at­tack at an Ikea store in Swe­den that left two dead are Eritrean asy­lum seek­ers, one of whom has de­nied any in­volve­ment while the other is in crit­i­cal con­di­tion, po­lice said Tues­day.

The mo­tive for the mid­day at­tack on Mon­day in the cen­tral town of Vasteras was still un­known, deputy pros­e­cu­tor gen­eral Eva Moren told re­porters.

“The two sus­pects are both from Eritrea. They have been liv­ing at an asy­lum cen­ter,” she said, adding that the pair knew each other.

“We know noth­ing about the mo­tive yet, the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will have to de­ter­mine that,” she said.

The sus­pects not dis­closed.

The two shop­pers killed were a 55-year-old woman and her 28-year-old son, both from the north­ern Swedish town of Skelleftea, Moren said.

One of the sus­pects, aged 23, has de­nied any in­volve­ment in the at­tacks.

The other sus­pect, born in 1979, re­mained in hos­pi­tal in crit­i­cal con­di­tion and un­der­went a sec­ond op­er­a­tion on Tues­day for stab wounds.

It was not known how he sus­tained his in­juries.

“He was sta­ble overnight but he is still in crit­i­cal con­di­tion,” Eva Lin­dahl, a spokes­woman for the re­gional health care au­thor­ity, told AFP.

He has not yet been in­terro-

iden­ti­ties were gated by po­lice, Moren said.

The two sus­pects were ar­rested on Mon­day shortly af­ter the at­tack. The 23-year-old was wres­tled to the ground by po­lice at a bus stop out­side Ikea, while the other was found with stab wounds in­side the store.

No Po­lit­i­cal Over­tones

Po­lice re­mained tightlipped about the in­ves­ti­ga­tion on Tues­day.

There were how­ever no in­di­ca­tions it was terror- re­lated and Swedish in­tel­li­gence agency Sapo said it had not been called in on the case.

And Vasteras po­lice chief Per Agren told re­porters there were “no po­lit­i­cal over­tones.”

Moren said po­lice had un­cov­ered “no con­nec­tion be­tween the sus­pects and the vic­tims.”

Po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors have re­cov­ered the sus­pected mur­der weapons from the scene, but Moren would not spec­ify how many.

“Knives have been found at the scene,” she said.

Ac­cord­ing to po­lice sources quoted by re­gional daily VLT, “the sus­pects ap­pear to have used knives from Ikea’s shelves.”

Moren said she would soon be re­view­ing video footage from the store’s many sur­veil­lance cam­eras and read­ing the wit­ness ac­counts of the in­ci­dent to get a clearer pic­ture of what tran­spired.

“The store was busy, there were a large num­ber of peo­ple in the store,” Agren said.

The store, lo­cated in Vasteras about 100 kilo­me­ters from Stock­holm, was evac­u­ated af­ter the at­tack and re­mained closed Tues­day un­til fur­ther no­tice.

Po­lice mean­while in­creased se­cu­rity at asy­lum cen­ters across Swe­den, pre­sum­ably for fear of reprisals, in­clud­ing at the cen­ter where the two sus­pects resided in Ar­boga, some 50 kilo­me­ters from Vasteras.

Mon­day’s at­tack was in some ways rem­i­nis­cent of the fa­tal 2003 stab­bing of Swedish for­eign min­is­ter Anna Lindh.

Mi­jailo Mi­jailovic, a then 24-year-old Ser­bian Swede with a history of psy­chi­atric prob­lems, stabbed Lindh, 46, re­peat­edly as she shopped at Stock­holm’s posh NK depart­ment store with­out a body­guard.

She died hours later of mas­sive in­ter­nal bleed­ing.

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