Swedish police said Wednesday that a woman in her 60s had been killed in a daylight stabbing on the island of Gotland, where the country's top politicians are gathered for an annual event.

Just before 2 pm (1200 GMT) in central Visby, which is currently hosting a gathering of the country's political parties, a man attacked a woman with a sharp weapon, according to police.

Newspaper Expressen reported that the suspect was believed to have links to the neo-Nazi group NMR, but police would not confirm this.

The victim was given emergency care at the scene before being taken to a nearby hospital.

"Unfortunately I can report that the woman has succumbed to her wounds," Fredrik Persson, chief of Gotland police, told a press conference.

Persson said that a 33-year-old man had been arrested shortly after the incident close to where the attack took place, and was currently suspected of murder.

Police and rescue services give medical aid to a woman who was seriously injured in a stabbing at the Almedalen political festival in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on July 6, 2022
Police and rescue services give medical aid to a woman who was seriously injured in a stabbing at the Almedalen political festival in Visby on the Swedish island of Gotland on July 6, 2022 TT NEWS AGENCY via AFP / Henrik Montgomery

"Currently there is an intense investigation under way. Part of that is to establish a motive and background of the arrested," the police chief said.

He added that there were a series of questions they were looking into "since it happened in a very public place, where there was a lot of people in central Visby in the middle of the day".

Police did not want to comment on a motive, though Persson conceded that a political motive could not be ruled out at such an early stage of the investigation.

However, police also said they did not believe the incident was linked to the Almedalen Week, an annual event gathering most of Sweden's elite where political parties often present new policy and launch campaigns.

The Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (SALAR) later confirmed that the victim was Ing-Marie Wieselgren, a 64-year-old psychiatrist working as a project manager and coordinator with the organisation.

"We have lost an appreciated and cherished co-worker, colleagues have lost a good friend and all of Sweden has lost one of its strongest voices for mental health," Carola Gunnarsson, president of SALAR, told AFP in a written comment.

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