An unidentified assailant stabbed Foreign Minister Anna Lindh as she shopped in a department store here today in an attack that stunned many Swedes and rekindled memories of the killing of Prime Minister Olof Palme in 1986.
While the motive behind the attack was unclear, an emotional Prime Minister Goran Persson ordered a halt in campaigning for a referendum on Sunday in which Ms. Lindh, 46, had been a leading voice in favor of adopting the euro.
''It's a serious situation,'' Mr. Persson, a Social Democrat, said at a news conference. ''The attack on her is an attack on our open society.''
The police said a tall man wearing a military camouflage jacket lunged at Ms. Lindh as she shopped for clothes at a designer outlet in the upscale NK department store in central Stockholm this afternoon. The assailant fled.