Stockholm truck attacker wanted to 'run over unbelievers': prosecutors

Reuters News
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Posted: Jan 30, 2018 5:58 AM

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - The man who mowed down pedestrians with a truck, killing five, in Stockholm last April had pledged allegiance to Islamic State and had planned his attack for months, prosecutors said in charges filed on Tuesday.

Uzbekistan-born Rakhmat Akilov, who was on the run from Swedish authorities after his asylum application was turned down, said in online conversations cited by the prosecutor that he wanted to "run over unbelievers".

He has been charged with committing a terrorist act and other crimes. Prosecutors have called for a life sentence in a trial due to begin next month.

Akilov had asked in online conversations for practical advice on building a bomb and for spiritual guidance ahead of a "martyr operation", the charges filed with a Stockholm court alleged.

In his online correspondence, Akilov discussed Swedish support for NATO and said the country had sent bomb technicians to Iraq to train Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State, the militant group that has been routed from territory it held.

Akilov has admitted killing five people in the attack. His defense lawyer was due to comment on the charges at a news conference at 1200 GMT.

On April 7 last year, Akilov hijacked a beer truck outside a restaurant in central Stockholm and sped some 500 meters (yards) down a pedestrian street, ploughing into shoppers before crashing the truck into a department store.

Three people - including an 11 year old girl - were killed immediately and two of the dozen injured died later in hospital.

In Sweden, charges are brought after the preliminary investigation is completed and suspects can be held in custody until that time.

(Reporting by Johan Ahlander and Simon Johnson; Editing by Niklas Pollard and Robin Pomeroy)