Police officers detain the attacker who stabbed people in Turku, southwestern Finland, on Aug. 18, 2017. Several people were stabbed in downtown Turku, southwestern Finland on Friday, when more than one man mounted the attacks simultaneously. At least two died and eight others were injured, according to local media. (Xinhua/Zhilwan Pirkhezri)
TURKU, Finland, Aug. 18 (Xinhua) -- Two people were killed and eight injured as an attacker stabbed crowds at two squares in central Turku in southwestern Finland on Friday, police said.
The stabber started the assault in the market square around 4 p.m. (1300GMT) local time, and then ran northwest to another square some 400 meters away, where he was shot in the leg and detained by police.
A witnesses told Xinhua that the attacker was a slim young man waving a huge knife at the corner of the market square. "People were screaming, running in all directions, and this person just continued to wave his knife and to stab people," said Kent Svensson, a tourist from Luxembourg.
"A guy took off his shirt to try to stop the blood from a person lying on the ground. And we ran into the cafe to hide. People closed the doors," said Svensson with trembling voice.
Photos taken by Zhilwan Pirkhezri and his friends showed that a victim was a mother with a small child. The woman was later seen lying on the ground covered with a white sheet, with her handbag and sunglasses by her side.
People at the market square tried to stop the stabber and threw cafe chairs in front of him, but did not manage to stop him. One of the victims was stabbed when he tried to intervene after an elderly woman was attacked.
"We were talking about the happenings in Barcelona, when we suddenly realize that it happened right in front of us," said Svensson.
The police have not defined the incident as "terrorism." At a press conference at 7 p.m.(1600 GMT), the police could not confirm a claim by a witness that the suspect shouted "Allah" during the violence, as some media reported.
Minister of the Interior Paula Risikko said at the press conference that the nationality of the suspect could not be immediately verified as the detainee was receiving medical treatment.
Turku police arrived fast on the scene and appeared in a heavy response outfit, with assault rifles visible. An alert reached the police at 4:08 p.m.(1308 GMT), and the suspect was apprehended 20 minutes thereafter.
Following the detention, police were prepared for the possibility of other attacks. Police ordered the city center to be cleared.
Turku is located in southwestern Finland and home to 187,000 inhabitants. It is a major Finnish port city connected to the Swedish capital Stockholm via passenger ferry lines.