Three people are in hospital after being stabbed in the street by a 31-year-old man in The Hague in a series of apparently random attacks.
The attacker is also in hospital after being shot by police who were called to the incident near Hollands Spoor station on Saturday afternoon.
Police said the man had a previous record of mentally disturbed behaviour, but would not confirm media reports that he was an asylum seeker from Syria.
NOS quoted sources in the justice department who said the man was from Syria but was not on the list of suspected terrorists. The Telegraaf reported that he had been involved in an incident in February where he threw furniture and possessions out of the window of his flat in the city centre. Since then he has been detained in a secure medical facility.
Police said they would not release further details about the man’s identity ‘in the interests of the investigation. The mayor of The Hague, Pauline Krikke, also called on people not to speculate: ‘The research team needs to carry out a thorough investigation first,’ she said.
Aangehouden verdachte steekincident Johanna Westerdijkplein is bij politie bekend in verband met verward gedrag.
— Politie Den Haag (@POL_DenHaag) May 5, 2018
The three victims of Saturday’s incident, a 21-year-old man from Zoetermeer and two people from The Hague aged 41 and 35, were seriously injured but their lives were not in danger.
Local residents told broadcaster Omroep West that the man had been involved in other disturbances in the neighbourhood and claimed he shouted ‘Allah akhbar’ in the course of Saturday’s stabbings on Johanna Westerdijkplein. Police have ruled out a terrorist motive for the attacks.
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