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A “suspected terrorist crime” was under investigation in a town in southern Sweden after a man assaulted at least eight people on Wednesday, police said.

A man in his 20s attacked people in the small town of Vetlanda, about 190 km southeast of Goteborg, Sweden’s second largest city, police said.

The man was shot dead by police, who said the condition of those attacked and the assailant was not immediately known. Officials did not immediately provide further details.

Swedish media reported that the assailant used an ax.

Regional police chief Malena Grann told a press conference that a suspect was arrested after “the police opened fire”. Local Police Chief Jonas Lindell said the suspect was admitted to hospital.

“As it stands, we have opened a preliminary investigation into an attempted murder,” Grann said. “This is the criminal classification that we have. There are details in the investigation that require us to investigate terrorist motives, but at the moment I cannot go into details.”

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Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven condemned “this terrible act” and added that the Swedish internal security agency SAPO was also working on the case.

“They are constantly assessing whether there are reasons to take security measures and are ready to do so if necessary,” he said in a statement, according to Swedish news agency TT.

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