The only suspect in custody in connection with last month’s Turku knife attack might have been planning to strike a military facility first.
That’s according to regional newspaper group Lännen Media, who say Abderrahman Bouanane stepped back from his original plan at the last minute. Lännen says their story has been confirmed by multiple sources.
Both investigator Olli Töyräs, and Director Robin Lardot from the National Bureau of Investigation NBI refused to confirm the Lännen Media reports.
Similarly, the Finnish Defence Force says they don’t comment on ongoing investigations.
“The police are in the middle of their investigation into the knife attack, so any comments should come from them” says Defence Forces spokesman Henrik Gahmberg.
Last Thursday, Robin Lardot said there had been two alternative targets for the suspect, instead of the Turku market square, but police did not specify what those targets were.
“He was close to conducting one attack on the same day, but didn’t go through with it because there were too many people” Lardot told a Ministry of Interior conference last Thursday.
Turku Naval Base Nearby
The suspect Abderrahman Bouanane, who was using a fake name in Finland, and gave a fake age to authorities when he made an application for asylum, was staying in a reception centre in Turku.
Lännen Media notes that the reception centre is only a few hundred metres from Pansio Naval Base. However, they don’t say that was a specific target for Bouanane. The base is one of the navy’s most important harbours.
The police have been working under the assumption that Bouanane would have continued his knife rampage until he was killed by officers.
“The suspect, who had studied IS’s propaganda, was trying to die as a martyr” Robin Lardot said last Thursday.
“This is probably the reason why no organizations have claimed responsibility for the attack, because the suspect survived” he explained.
Finnish police have a copy of a manifesto made by Bouanane. Officials say it was originally written down, and then the suspect. He published his video to an instant messaging service – albeit one that is not popular in Finland – shortly before he began his random attacks.
Two Finnish women were killed in the stabbing on 18th August, and eight other people were wounded. Of the wounded, six are women and two are men, who were cut as they tried to intervene to protect people who had already been injured.