TURKU, Finland — A young Moroccan man has admitted to his role in a deadly stabbing rampage last week, which the authorities have called Finland’s first terrorist attack in decades, officials announced on Tuesday.
Police said that the man — who has been tentatively identified as Abderrahman Mechkah, 18, and who appeared in court here on Tuesday via a video feed from his hospital bed — had admitted to the stabbings.
But Chief Inspector Olli Toyras, a police detective, told journalists that much was unclear: whether Mr. Mechkah acted alone, whether his actions were guided or influenced by someone else and even his true name and age.
Finnish officials said Mr. Mechkah was believed to have arrived in Finland in the spring of 2016, after living several months in Germany. He is believed to have used several aliases. He was denied asylum at the beginning of this year.
Police and witnesses say that Mr. Mechkah used two knives to attack women in the center of Turku, a city of 180,000 in southwestern Finland, on Friday afternoon.
Two women, one in her mid-50s and the other in her early 30s, were killed; six other women were injured, along with two men who had tried to protect them. Mr. Mechkah was shot in the thigh.
Police and intelligence agencies had gotten a tip about Mr. Mechkah earlier this year, warning that he might harbor extremist views, but the tip was not given priority because it was too vague to act on. He was not one of some 350 people whom Finnish authorities have been monitoring as potential security threats.
The young man’s defense lawyer, Kaarle Gummerus, said on Tuesday that his client had admitted to the rampage, but that investigators had not yet presented enough evidence to classify the case as a terrorist crime.
The case has raised urgent legal and political questions for Finland, a Nordic nation of 5.5 million that is known as one of the world’s safest countries.Read more