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Sunday 17 December 2017

11-year-old girl among victims of Stockholm truck attack

Police vans block the street outside Stockholm District Court as 39-year-old Uzbekistan national Rakhmat Akilov appears at a remand hearing. (Fredrik Sandberg/TT/AP)
Police vans block the street outside Stockholm District Court as 39-year-old Uzbekistan national Rakhmat Akilov appears at a remand hearing. (Fredrik Sandberg/TT/AP)

A Swedish couple have told local media that their 11-year-old daughter was one of the four people killed when a truck rammed into a crowd in Stockholm.

Sweden's TV4 reported that the parents released a statement saying they wanted to thank "the Swedish people for all the warmth and love you have given us at a time of despair and pain".

They requested "peace and quiet" to grieve the death of their daughter, Ebba Akerlund.

Other victims of Friday's attack included a 31-year-old Belgian woman, a 69-year-old Swedish woman, and a 41-year-old Briton whom the UK government identified as Chris Bevington, an executive at Swedish music-streaming service Spotify.

Fifteen others were injured in the attack with eight still in hospital.

Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek man, has pleaded guilty to a terrorist crime after ramming the truck into the crowd, according to his lawyer, Johan Eriksson.

On Tuesday, the Stockholm District Court ruled that police may detain the suspect for one month, but Eriksson said his client could remain jailed as long as it takes to resolve the case.

Akilov was caught on Friday evening in a northern suburb of Stockholm, hours after he drove the stolen beer truck into the crowd of afternoon shoppers outside the upmarket Ahlens store.

He was formally arrested early on Saturday.

Police have not disclosed a motive for the attack and no extremist group has claimed responsibility, but police chief Dan Eliasson said that after questioning him they have become increasingly "convinced that we have the right suspect".

Akilov was known to have been sympathetic to extremist organisations, but police said that there was nothing to indicate he might plan an attack.

His Swedish residency application was rejected last year.

Friday's attack shocked Sweden, known for its welcoming policy toward migrants and refugees.

In 2015, a record 163,000 asylum-seekers arrived in the country - the highest per capita rate in Europe.

The government responded by tightening border controls and curtailing some immigrant rights.

AP

Press Association

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