A police spokeswoman said Lindh, 46, had been rushed to hospital for surgery after being stabbed in an attack in central Stockholm. But her condition was said to be not life-threatening.

Lindh's attacker was still at large, the police said.

The minister was attacked in a crowded downtown department store. She was rushed to Stockholm's Karolinska hospital where she was immediately operated on.

The attack on Lindh assumes significance since it comes days ahead of a euro referendum in which she has been a high-profile campaigner.

Lindh had been actively campaigning for Swedish euro entry ahead of Sunday's referendum on the single currency, but she was not on the campaign trail when she was stabbed.

Police said they had no prior indication of any threats against Lindh before the attack.

Lindh is one of Sweden's most popular politicians and tipped to succeed Prime Minister Goeran Persson.