An apparent terror attack in Sweden would be the latest in a string of deadly high-profile Europe attacks involving powerful vehicles over the past several months.
A hijacked beer truck plowed into a crowd at a Stockholm shopping center on Friday, killing at least three and injuring several more. Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said all signs pointed to “an act of terror” and confirmed that at least one person had been arrested in connection with the crash.
No terror group has come forward to claim responsibility, but the incident comes on the heels of a similar type of attack in London last month. Khalid Masood drove an SUV into a crowd on Westminster Bridge before he stabbed a police officer. Five people were killed and dozens more were injured by Masood, who was shot and killed by police that day.
Masood was known to authorities in London and had ties to “violent extremism,” British Prime Minister Theresa May told police. Amaq, the ISIS-affiliated news agency, referred to Masood as a “soldier of the Islamic State.”
Back in July, ISIS also claimed responsibility for a truck attack in Nice, France, which killed 86 people as they celebrated Bastille Day. More than 400 others were injured in the crash, which was carried out by Mohamed Lahouiaej Bouhlel, who was killed by police.
ISIS has long promoted vehicle-style assaults on innocent civilians. A November issue of the group’s Rumiyah magazine said, "Vehicles are like knives, as they are extremely easy to acquire. But unlike knives, which if found in one's possession can be a cause for suspicion, vehicles arouse absolutely no doubts due to their widespread use.”
Two weeks after the issue’s publication, Somali refugee Abdul Razak Ali Artan plowed into a crowd on Ohio State University’s campus before stabbing pedestrians with a butcher knife, wounding a total of 11 people. He was subsequently shot by police. ISIS claimed responsibility for this attack.
Charlie Winter, a senior research fellow at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence, told the Associated Press in March that vehicle attacks are frightening because of their lack of sophistication.
"You don't need to know someone who can make you a bomb or buy you a gun in order to carry out an attack,” he said. “It's a very difficult thing to fight against. There is no quick fix."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.