A large beer truck crashed into an upscale department store in central Stockholm barely a few metres away from the Indian Embassy on Friday, killing at least three people and injuring several others.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven said all indications were that it was a terror attack.
“Sweden has been attacked,” Lofven said, adding, “This indicates that it is an act of terror.”
One person was arrested in connection with the attack later.
People in the downtown area fled in panic, and the country’s intelligence agency said a large number of people were injured.
Swedish radio put the death toll at three.
“I saw two people lying on street and heard loud noises. Also saw three others injured and helicopters flying,” Indian Ambassador to Sweden Monika Mohta was quoted as saying by ANI.
The attack took place just a few metres away from the Indian Embassy.
However, as per embassy sources in Stockholm, all local and Indian staff was safe.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said all embassy officials are safe after the terror attack in the Swedish capital of Stockholm which took place very close to the Indian embassy.
‘I am in touch with Indian Ambassador in Sweden. The attack was very close to Indian Embassy. Our embassy officials are safe,’ Swaraj tweeted.
‘Indians in Stockholm: Please note the Emergency number: 0768982764, Counsellor : 0734262097,’ she said in another tweet.
Swedish broadcaster SVT said shots were fired at the scene, though it wasn’t clear by whom and police said they could not confirm that.
Live television footage showed smoke coming out of the upscale Ahlens department store on Drottninggatan Street, which the truck smashed into. The department store is part of Sweden-wide chain.
The building includes several stores at street-level.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack and said India stands firmly with the people of Sweden in this hour of grief.
‘We condemn the attack in Stockholm. My thoughts are with the families of the deceased & prayers with those injured,’ he tweeted.
‘India stands firmly with the people of Sweden in this hour of grief,’ he added.
Photos from the scene showed a beer truck sticking out of the department store, and Aftonbladet daily reported that Swedish beer maker Spendrups said one of its trucks had been carjacked earlier on Friday.
Police vans circulating in the city using loudspeakers urged people to go straight home and avoid large crowds.
The centre of the usually buzzing city was in lockdown, with the central train station evacuated and other stores quickly emptied of shoppers.
The Stockholm metro was also completely shut down, with the attack taking place at the city’s T-Centralen station, through which all the city’s lines pass.
The area around the attack was cordoned off, but other streets in the city were packed with pedestrians trying to find a way home on a Friday afternoon.
Helicopters could be heard hovering in the sky over central Stockholm, and a large number of police cars and ambulances were dispatched to the scene, witnesses said.
Friday’s incident is near the site of a December 2010 attack in which Taimour Abdulwahab, a Swedish citizen who lived in Britain, detonated a suicide bomb, killing himself and injuring two others.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Friday’s attack, but vehicles have been common weapons in recent extremist attacks.
European politicians expressed solidarity, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker saying that it was an ‘attack on us all’.
A spokesman for German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “Our thoughts go out to the people in Stockholm, to the injured, their relatives, rescuers and police.
“We stand together against terror.”
French President Francois Hollande voiced his ‘horror and indignation’ over the assault.