1 500 at funeral for Swedish school attack victim

2015-10-28 19:31
People light candles outside Kronan school in Trollhattan, Sweden, after the knife attack. (Bjorn Larsson Rosvall, AP)

People light candles outside Kronan school in Trollhattan, Sweden, after the knife attack. (Bjorn Larsson Rosvall, AP)

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Trollhttan - About 1 500 mourners attended the funeral on Wednesday of a teacher's assistant hailed by students as a hero for trying to stop a racially motivated attack at a school in Sweden.

Twenty-year-old Lavin Eskandar was killed last Thursday after throwing himself at the sword-wielding masked man in a bid to disarm him as he entered the school in the southwestern industrial town of Trollhattan.

A teenage student was also killed, and his funeral was set for Friday.

The mourners gathered at the Kronan school for 6- to 15-year-olds to honour Eskandar, who was of Iraqi origin, and then walked the short distance to the Muslim section of the nearby Hajums cemetery.

"The terrorists killed Lavin, he was a kind person, he was nice to everyone. Go son, I'm proud of you," Eskandar's mother, Intesar Fares, wailed during the ceremony.

Many of the mourners held white roses, their faces sombre and often tear-stained. They gathered in silence, interrupted only by the imam's prayers and the release of doves.

The white-clad women then ululated, honouring Eskandar as if he were a groom at his wedding.

A family member in the crowd shouted: "You are a hero to all of us!"

Police investigator Thord Haraldsson said the assailant, identified in the media as Anton Lundin-Pettersson, 21, targeted "those with dark complexions", with the investigation so far "pointing to Nazism".

The killer went from classroom to classroom, wearing black clothes, a Darth Vader-like mask and a German WWII Nazi-era helmet.

A teenage student and a teacher were also wounded in the attack, before police shot and killed the assailant.

All the victims were of immigrant origin.

Lavin's cousin, who gave her name only as Lucy, said the attack had created a climate of fear in the town.

"People are worried about going out on the street. It's not safe, people are not comfortable anymore ... We are against hatred, we are against terror, the most important of all things is humanity. We have to wipe out racism and terrorism," she told AFP.

The killer's social media accounts reveal an apparent loner fascinated by Hitler, Nazi Germany and the far-right Sweden Democrat party, which is critical of Islam and rising immigration.

Sweden, a country of 9.8 million, is expecting to receive up to 190 000 asylum seekers this year - putting it among the EU states with the highest proportion of refugees per capita as the continent struggles with a massive influx of migrants.

Read more on:    sweden

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