April 17, 2018 / 12:30 PM / in 2 months

Finland knife attacker says he was 'in war against women'

HELSINKI (Reuters) - A Moroccan man told a court in Finland he was “in war against women” when he went on a rampage in the Finnish city of Turku last year, stabbing two women to death and wounding eight more people, local media reported.

Abderrahman Bouanane, at the time a 22-year-old asylum seeker, spoke in district court on Tuesday, where he is on trial on charges of murder and attempted murder “with terrorist intent”.

Bouanane told the court that before the attacks last August, he had visited mosque and recorded a video in which he talked about U.S.-led air strikes in Syria and the fight for Islamic State. When he started the attacks on the market square, he said, he couldn’t control himself.

“I honestly felt like I was controlled remotely... The idea was to keep attacking as long as a head falls,” Bouanane said via an interpreter, according to the newspaper Helsingin Sanomat’s online edition.

Two women were killed and six more women were injured. Two men were hurt when they tried to help the women. Police stopped the attacks by shooting Bouanane in the leg.

A psychiatric assessment concluded that Bouanane was criminally responsible for the attacks. Police said he was a “lone wolf” who saw himself as a soldier for Islamic State. The militant group did not take responsibility for the attack.

“My target was to hit women, not men ... I was in war against women,” Bouanane said, according to Helsingin Sanomat.

The hearing was broke off on Tuesday when Bouanane suddenly declined to sit in his chair or stand, without giving a clear reason.

Bouanane had been radicalised shortly before the attack, police investigation showed, and his application for asylum had just been rejected.

The case marks the first terror-related attack in Finland. The prosecutor is seeking a life sentence, which in Finland means at least 12 years in prison.

Bouanane has admitted the attacks, but his defense has denied terrorist intent, according to the definition in Finnish law.

Reporting by Jussi Rosendahl, editing by Larry King

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