HELSINKI: A Finnish man with a background in far-right extremism is suspected of stabbing and severely wounding a 12-year-old in Finland, authorities said Friday.
The motive of the attack was under investigation, but both of the children were Finnish nationals of foreign background, the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) said.
The 33-year-old suspect stabbed a 12-year-old several times in a shopping centre in the northern Finnish city of Oulu on Thursday, according to authorities.
The NBI said the suspect attempted to attack another child accompanying the victim.
The 12-year-old was seriously wounded but was in stable condition on Friday, said the NBI.
The attacker, who is now suspected of two attempted murders, “has a background in extreme right activities”, the NBI said.
According to NBI detective superintendent Ari Soronen, a guard in the shopping mall “managed to stop the suspect before he caused any more harm”.
Public broadcaster YLE reported the suspect was a former key member of the Nordic Resistance Movement — a neo-Nazi group banned in Finland since 2020.
The suspect was convicted of stabbing a person at a 2013 far-right event in a library.
Finland’s Prime Minister Petteri Orpo strongly condemned the stabbing, calling it a “cowardly attack on children” on the social media platform X.
“Far-right violence is a real threat in Finland. There is no room in this country for extremism of any kind”, he said.
Before police revealed the suspect’s right-wing extremist background, the head of Finland’s populist right Finns Party, Finance Minister Riikka Purra, linked the attack to gang violence.
“In the middle of the day, in the middle of a shopping centre,a stabbing of a child… With gang crime, gangs, etc., we are unfortunately following the same trend as in other countries”, she wrote on X Thursday, prompting a storm of criticism against her statement.

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