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11 Sep 03,, 05:13
Stabbed Swedish minister 'critical'

Doctors treating Swedish Foreign Minister Anna Lindh say her condition has improved but she remains "critical" after being stabbed while shopping in a department store in the centre of Stockholm.
Mrs Lindh, who suffered wounds in the chest, stomach and arms in the attack, had to spend several hours in surgery as doctors tried to control her severe internal bleeding.

"We at once decided to operate... during the operation it was confirmed that there was severe internal bleeding from a wound to the liver and several large blood vessels in the abdomen," a hospital statement said.

Mrs Lindh, a prominent figure in the pro-European currency campaign in Sweden and one of the country's most popular politicians, was attacked by an unknown assailant.

Campaign suspended

Sweden's Prime Minister Goran Persson described the stabbing as an assault on the country's open society.

"The attack on her is an attack on our open society and because of this I am feeling great anger and dismay," he said.

The attack comes days before Swedes vote in a referendum on whether to join the euro. Mrs Lindh had been vigorously campaigning for a Yes vote.

In the wake of the incident both the Yes and No campaigns have suspended their activities.

Mrs Lindh had been shopping unaccompanied by bodyguards when the attack took place at about 1600 local time (1400GMT).

She was carried from the Nordiska Kompaniet store on a stretcher.

"She lay on the floor and it looked as if a tall man, wearing a peaked cap, was hitting her," eyewitness Hanna Sundberg said.

"But when he ran away, he threw away a knife."

Camouflage jacket

Police were said to be searching for a man wearing a camouflage jacket who fled from the store.

"There is nothing pointing at a political motive right now," said police spokesman Bjoern Pihlblad.

However, security has been tightened around government buildings.

Mrs Lindh, 46, one of Sweden's most popular politicians, has been foreign minister since 1998. She is married with two children.

Attacks on Swedish politicians are rare. A notable exception was the assassination of the then Prime Minister, Olof Palme, in 1986.

Mr Palme was shot dead as he walked home with his wife in Stockholm.

The killing has never formally been solved, although a man cleared of the crime later wrote to a newspaper confessing.


11 Sep 03,, 09:10

Thursday , September 11, 2003

STOCKHOLM, Sweden Popular foreign minister Anna Lindh, who was stabbed repeatedly while shopping in an exclusive department store, died Thursday morning, the government said.

Lindh, who was attacked Wednesday, had spent most of the night undergoing surgery at Karolinska Hospital. She suffered severe internal bleeding and liver and stomach injuries, Prime Minister Goeran Persson said at a news conference.

Lindh was stabbed in the stomach, chest and arm, and police were searching for a man wearing a camouflage jacket who fled the store.

The death shocked a nation that has long prided itself on the accessibility of its politicians. Like many officials, she didn't use a bodyguard.

Police said they didn't believe the attack was politically motivated, but it stirred memories of the unsolved murder of Prime Minister Olof Palme, who was killed while walking home from a downtown movie theater with his wife in 1986.

"It's with great sadness that I have the information that Anna Lindh died," Persson said. "It feels strange and it's difficult to understand."

Lindh, 46, died just before 5:30 a.m., a somber yet measured Persson told reporters.

The attack cast a pall over the country's upcoming referendum to decide whether to adopt the euro, and campaigning on the issue was postponed for at least a day. It wasn't known if Sunday's referendum vote would be delayed.

Jan Larssen, a government spokesman, said the "issue had been raised" but added it would be a "very big, complicated project to move an election day."

Lindh, who was No. 3 in the government and a leading supporter of the European Union's common currency, was often touted as a possible successor to Persson.

Lindh was head of the Foreign Ministry since 1998, serving as environmental minister before that. She was a member of the Riksdag, or parliament, from 1982-1985. She is married and has two children.

"For some people, this may bring back all the terrible memories of years back when Prime Minister Olof Palme was killed," said Green Party leader Per Eriksson. "This may very well lead to Swedish politicians having to have bodyguards from now on."

Only Persson and Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf have personal security details, said Lars Danielsson, a senior government aide.

He said the government was reassessing security, but didn't say if ministers would be provided with bodyguards.

Politicians throughout Scandinavia are often seen walking along the street or riding subways without police protection. In neighboring Denmark, Foreign Minister Per Stig Moeller can be spotted grocery shopping on Saturdays without police protection.

Sweden and other Scandinavian countries have been relatively immune to political violence, unlike other parts of Europe. Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic was assassinated in March by allies of Slobodan Milosevic seeking to topple his pro-Western government. In the Netherlands, anti-immigration politician Pim Fortuyn was shot to death by an animal rights activist in May 2002.

Lindh was shopping at the upscale Nordiska Kompaniet department store, blocks away from the parliament building, when she was stabbed just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, shopper Hanna Sundberg told The Associated Press.

Sundberg said she saw a man chase Lindh up an escalator.

"She fell on the floor and the man was stabbing her in the stomach," she said. "When he ran away, he threw the knife away."

Sundberg ran to Lindh and the politician told her: "God, he has stabbed me in the stomach!" Then, Sundberg said she saw blood.

An AP reporter saw Lindh rushed from the building on a stretcher by three paramedics, with police surrounding her. The foreign minister appeared barely conscious, breathing heavily into an oxygen mask as paramedics loaded her into an ambulance.

Police were analyzing the store's security videotapes to learn more about the assault.

12 Sep 03,, 16:15
Poor lady. She is dead. May God Rest Her Soul in Peace.

How mad can people get?:flamemad