0552 GMT December 09, 2019
Finnish police said Saturday that after new information the stabbing spree was now considered a terrorist attack, identifying the suspect as an 18-year-old Moroccan citizen, AFP reported.
"The incidents were initially investigated as murders, but in light of further information received during the night, the offences include now murders with terrorist intent and their attempts," police said in a statement on Saturday.
The suspect's "identity is known to the police. He is an 18-year-old Moroccan citizen," police said, providing no other details about him.
Police had refused to confirm if the stabbing had been terror-related.
Within hours of the attack on Friday the force had announced increased police patrols across the country.
"There are eight victims in the stabbing. Two dead and six injured," Turku police tweeted after the assault in a market square. A hospital official told journalists that all the victims were adults.
Police shot a suspect in the thigh minutes after the attack at another square nearby, arresting him and confiscating his knife.
Police had described the suspect in custody as "a young man of foreign origin", providing no other details except to say they were collaborating with the Finnish Immigration Service.
While security forces wrote on Twitter that police were "looking for other possible perpetrators", police told journalists it was likely there was only one attacker.
Police assured Turku residents the city was safe on Friday evening.
The stabbing spree comes with Europe on high alert a day after drivers slammed vehicles into pedestrians in two attacks in Spain, killing at least 14 people and injuring more than 100 others. The Daesh terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the Barcelona attack.
In Turku, images of a body covered in a white blanket were published on some online news sites, including the local daily Turun Sanomat.
One victim died at the scene and the other in hospital, police said.
Bystanders had rushed to the scene to help the victims.
Turku mayor Aleksi Randall said in a statement it was "difficult to understand that such violence would happen on this scale in Turku.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker said the EU "strongly condemns" the attack.