JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Sunday strongly condemned the stabbing attacks that took place in Russia's far northern city of Surgut and the Finnish city of Turku, killing and wounding a number of people.
A statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), quoting an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the Kingdom offers its "condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland, wishing a speedy recovery to the wounded."
The official source reaffirmed the Kingdom's solidarity with the friendly countries against terrorism and extremism.
The Daesh international terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the attack in Russia, in which a man stabbed seven people before being shot dead by police.
“The executor of the stabbing operation in the city of Surgut in Russia is a soldier of the Islamic State,” Daesh propaganda outlet Amaq said in a statement, after the jihadists also claimed responsibility for twin attacks in Spain that left 14 dead.
In the Finland case, a Moroccan asylum-seeker was arrested after he went on a knife rampage on Friday night, killing two women and wounding six others. Police shot the suspect in the leg before his arrest.
Police said the 18-year-old suspect arrived in Finland last year.
Police also arrested four other Moroccan men over possible links to him and issued an international arrest warrant for a sixth Moroccan, they said.
The stabbing spree occurred on Friday afternoon in the main market place in Turku, on the southwest coast of the country, 160 kilometers from Helsinki.
“First thing we heard was a young woman, screaming like crazy. I thought it’s just kids having fun ... but then people started to move around and I saw a man with a knife in his hand, stabbing a woman,” said Laura Laine, who was sitting in a cafe.
“Then a person ran toward us shouting ‘He has a knife’, and everybody from the terrace ran inside. Next, a woman came in to the cafe. She was crying hysterically, down on her knees, saying someone’s neck has been slashed open.”
Four of the wounded were still in hospital, three of them in intensive care, while the other injured persons would be sent home on Saturday, the hospital said.
Muslim community voice concern
Turku’s Iraqi, Syrian and Islamic community condemned the attacks and organized a rally of solidarity in the city’s main square, but decided to cancel it due to security concerns.
“Finns and immigrants, and people from different religions, have had very good relations in Turku... We are shocked, but I don’t see this changing that,” said Abdirahman Mohamed, chairman of the Islamic community of Turku.
He said the Moroccan suspects were not familiar to him or to the Islamic community in town, which has around 2,000 members.