Breaking: Mass stabbing attack in Finland; Update: Police “searching for possibly more perpetrators”; Update: 2 dead
Update: ABC News now reports that two have died in the attack:
Update: The Twitter user who posted the video has removed the tweet, so I have removed it from the post. Fox has also removed the “Allahu akbar” reference in their report. As of noon ET, the police are still saying that they do not have a motive for the attack. That’s why I warned to take all of these details with a grain of salt.
Update: Fox News reports that some witnesses — and one purported video — say that the assailant shouted “Allahu akbar” as he chased down his victims. Be aware that this has not been independently verified as legitimate video of today’s attack. Take this one with a grain of salt at least for the moment. Could very well be legit, but … wait for more corroboration before including this in firm conclusions.
Update: Police have tweeted out that they “are searching for possibly more perpetrators in Turku.” It doesn’t necessarily mean there are any to find, but …
Update: Wisely, Finland is not assuming that this is a lone wolf, at least not yet:
The police have reinforced security at the airport and at train stations in Helsinki, about 100 miles to the east, in response to the attack, The Associated Press reported.
Update: This update from CBS News is pretty chilling:
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.
Terrorism is always cowardly, as it takes deliberate aim at civilians, but this is especially craven if it turns out to be terrorism and not just mental illness.
Update: I will add updates relating to the Finland attack in reverse chronological order at the top; any updates on the situation in Spain will go below the original post.
Original post below …
Several people have been wounded in a stabbing in the city of Turku, western Finland, police said Friday.
The suspected attacker was shot, according to police who urged citizens to leave the immediate area.
The Turun Sanomat newspaper reported that at least one person was killed in the attack.
That does not refer to the suspect, as ABC News reports that police shot him in the leg and then arrested him. They also have some raw video from the scene:
We’ll keep an eye out for further updates, but at this point it doesn’t appear to be the work of a cell. Remember that it doesn’t pay to jump to conclusions in the first few moments of these incidents. However, this style of attack echoes that of other radical-Islamist attacks, and not just in London but right here in Minnesota as well. Knife attacks were also part of the plot that unfolded in Spain yesterday, too, although the terrorists in that phase didn’t get to do much damage before police shot them down in the street.
Regarding those attacks, Rex Tillerson announced this morning that one American was killed in Spain:
Stuart Varney emphasizes that what happened in Spain was clearly not a “lone wolf” attack, but the work of a large cell of “jihadists.” How did that cell manage to succeed in Spain, which has been targeted for radical Islamist terror attacks before? The Daily Beast wonders about that, too, and also wonders whether Spain has rolled up the network yet. They appear to have missed an opportunity on Wednesday after an explosion failed to alert them to the danger:
Spanish authorities concluded belatedly that an explosion Wednesday which brought down part of a building in the town of Alcanar, still farther down the Catalan coast, was the result of bomb-making gone awry. The Catalan police initially thought the blast was an accident, possibly related to drug making. One person there was killed, and one who was injured is reportedly now under arrest.
Another man, Driss Oukabir, was arrested when his documents were linked to the murder vehicle on the Ramblas. But after his photograph was widely disseminated by police, he turned himself in to authorities in the town of Ripoli about 60 miles north of Barcelona, claiming his passport had been stolen. His 18-year-old brother, Moussa, is now a prime suspect in the attack there and apparently still at large.
In all, four people are now reported under arrest.
There is growing speculation among terrorism experts that the Alcanar blast forced a cell of at least eight people to act much sooner than they had planned. (Something similar happened in Belgium when a high profile arrest led the plotters there, who had planned to attack European soccer championships in France, to rush instead to blow themselves up at the Brussels airport and in the Brussels subway.)
The mass-stabbing attack in London this past June should worry Western security experts:
But the London Bridge and Borough Market attack in June killed eight people, plus three terrorists “neutralized” at the scene, suggesting a revival of multi-attacker operations, and it may have been a model for attack that just took place in Spain.
We may be seeing a new phase, or at least a return to an older strategy, unfolding in Europe. The attack in Finland still looks like a single perpetrator, but we’ll wait for more details to find out whether that’s true, and whether it’s related at all to radical Islamist terror.
Update: Here’s video of Tillerson’s statement: