Several people stabbed in Finnish city of Turku: police

HELSINKI (Reuters) – Several people were stabbed in an knife attack in the Finnish city of Turku on Friday but it was not immediately clear if this was a militant action or had some other motive.

Police said they arrested one person after a shootout and were hunting for other possible attackers. They warned people

to stay away from the city as they reinforced security nationwide.

The Turun Sanomat newspaper reported that at least one person was killed in the attack. Newspaper Helsingin Sanomat said eight people had been taken to hospital following the stabbings, some of them are in critical condition.

Interior Minister Paula Risikko told Helsingin Sanomat she did not yet know whether the attack was related to terrorism.

Finland is traditionally peaceful but the Finnish Security Intelligence Service raised the terrorism threat level in June, saying it had become aware of more serious terrorism-related plans in Finland.

Rescue personnel cordon the place where several people were stabbed, at Turku Market Square, Finland August 18, 2017. LEHTIKUVA/Roni Lehti via REUTERS

Witness Laura Laine said she was alerted by hearing a young woman screaming loudly at the corner of the market square.

“We saw a man at the square, he had knife in his hand, and he was swinging it in the air. We understood he had stabbed someone,” she told Finnish broadcaster YLE.

Turku lies on Finland’s southwest coast about 160 km (100 miles) west of the capital Helsinki.

Turun Sanomat said police were inspecting departing trains and buses. They also reinforced security in Helsinki airport and streets as well as a train station in Vantaa.

Prime Minister Juha Sipila said: “The government is closely following the events in Turku and the ongoing police operation. The government will meet later today.”

The government has grown more concerned about attacks, partly after an Uzbek man killed four people in neighboring Sweden in April by driving a hijacked truck into crowd in central Stockholm.

On Thursday, a suspected Islamist militant drove a van into crowds in Barcelona, Spain, killing 13 people and wounding scores of others.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl and Tuomas Forsell; Writing by Alister Doyle, Editing by Angus MacSwan

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