Bankastræti stabbings: more than 20 arrested

21.11.2022 - 15:08
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Pétur Magnússon/RÚV
Following the Bankastræti Club attacks in Reykjavík last week, more than twenty suspects have been arrested over the weekend.

Police: no danger to the public, a likely connection to the drug trade
The investigation is going well, Margeir Sveinsson, assistant chief of police for Reykjavík capital region (aðstoðaryfirlögregluþjónn á höfuðborgarsvæðinu), told RÚV Morgunútvarp Rásar 2 radio on Monday. Police have requested twelve people's detention and are considering the same for three more.

According to police, a connection to drug trafficking is probable. The attack might have been willing newcomers following orders of superiors to gain access into gangs: Margeir says, "it is well known to marginalised young people they are welcomed into such a group. They […] want to show their abilities and that they are trustworthy."

Last Thursday night, more than 20 entered Bankastræti Club and stabbed three people. The injured were taken to hospital but, according to police, are no longer in critical condition.

Nationwide searches for suspects
Police have long since expected a group attack like last week's, explains Margeir. In the wake of the knife attacks, suspects' families have been harassed and threatened in alleged revenge assaults – i.e. by petrol bombs thrown into homes and smashed windows. However, there is no danger to the public, Margeir assures: "I want to make it quite clear that if we think some people are in danger, we will contact them."

Possible suspects have been searched for all over Iceland. Some have been hiding away in their homes, and others are believed to have fled the country.

Possible gang wars might take a toll on prisons
The group attack and consequent arrests impact Icelandic prisons: So far, it has been rare to receive so many prisoners at once. Thus, prisons "need to rethink all our operations [and] reduce projects […]. When people are taken into custody, we should just act on it immediately, and everything else just has to wait", says Halldór Valur Pálsson, director of prisons (forstöðumaður fangelsanna).

At the moment, he assures they can handle the situation. It might get complicated in case of gang wars: "It completely threatens the safety of employees and other inmates if there is a conflict like this. And if there is a gang conflict in the community, they will also find their way out to the prisons eventually."

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