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Friday, 18 October 2019

Finland marks minute of silence for stabbing victims

AFP , Sunday 20 Aug 2017
People hold a minute's silence in front of flowers and candles laid at a makeshift memorial at the Turku Market Square in Turku, Finland, on August 20, 2017. Ten people were stabbed in Central Turku on August 18, 2017 and two persons have been confirmed dead.(photo : AFP)
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Finland observed a minute of silence on Sunday for the victims of a stabbing attack that left two people dead in what is being investigated as the country's first-ever terror attack.

Another eight people were wounded in the stabbing spree, which took place on Friday in the southwestern port city of Turku.

At the market square where the attack happened, several hundred people gathered to hold a minute of silence at 10:00 am (0700 GMT).

Among the crowd were emergency workers, city officials and police who formed a ring around a makeshift memorial of candles and flowers.

Archbishop Kari Makinen, who heads Finland's Evangelical Lutheran Church, was also present.

"Peace and Love - No Violence Finland" read one note next to a bouquet of flowers.

The bells of Turku Cathedral, the country's largest church, rang out for 15 minutes before falling silent as the crowd bowed its head to remember the victims.

Also there was Hassan Zubier, a visiting British paramedic who was injured in the attack after coming to the aid of a woman who later died.

He arrived directly from hospital, attending the ceremony in a wheelchair.

"I wanted to show my respect to the victims," he told Swedish daily Aftonbladet before returning to hospital for further treatment.

Similar ceremonies were held across the country.

Finnish police said Saturday that an 18-year-old Moroccan asylum seeker deliberately targeted women in the attack.

His motive was not yet known.

All of the victims were women, including the dead, except for two men who tried to fend off the attacker.

An Italian, a Swede and a Briton were among the injured.

The suspect was shot and wounded by police minutes after he began his rampage on Friday afternoon.

The National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said Sunday it was hoping to interrogate him later in the day.

In hospital with a gunshot wound to the thigh, he has so far refused to speak to investigators.

Police arrested four Moroccans linked to the suspect in a raid late Friday, but police said Sunday their involvement in the attack had "not yet been fully established."

They also carried out searches in a Turku suburb but said "no new arrests" had been made.

Ahead of the minute's silence, police reconstructed the crime at the market square as part of their investigation.

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