Finland: Police Say Stabbing Suspect Lied About Name, Age

Armed Finnish policemen on guard at the Helsinki airport, after stabbings in Turku, in Vantaa, Finland August 18, 2017. (Lehtikuva/Vesa Moilanen via Reuters)

A Moroccan man who is facing charges in a stabbing attack that killed two people and wounded eight others in Finland, lied about his name and age, Finnish police said Sunday.

The suspect has been hospitalized since officers shot him in the thigh to stop the Aug. 18 knife attack in the southwestern city of Turku, 170 kilometers (105 miles) west of the Finnish capital, Helsinki.

National Bureau of Investigation Detective Inspector Crista Granroth said the man gave a false name and age when he was first interviewed. International police contacts provided Finnish investigators with his true identity, Granroth said.

“The police have interviewed the main suspect, and he is willing to communicate with the interviewing police officer,” she said in a statement. “For reasons relating to the criminal investigation, no information is released on the contents of his statement at this point in time.”

The man is being held on suspicion of murder and attempted murder with terrorist intent. Investigators said he had become radicalized, but did not elaborate.

Although he originally identified himself as 18-year-old asylum-seeker Abderrahman Mechkah, police said he was actually born in 1994, which would make him 22 or 23.

On Saturday, another Moroccan detained in connection with the stabbings was released as he was “no longer suspected of any crime,” police said. Three others, believed to be Moroccans, were still being held on suspicion they helped plan the attack.

Investigators have said they are exploring possible links to the recent extremist attacks in Spain.

The main suspect arrived in Finland last year, but his application for asylum was denied, police said.

Investigators have said they weren’t aware of a motive for the attack, but that it appeared to target women.

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