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Sydney police say 7 dead after shopping mall stabbings

April 13, 2024

Police say six people have been stabbed to death by an attacker at a Sydney shopping center before he was shot dead by police. Hundreds of people were evacuated from the premises following the attacks.

 Police standing in front of ambulances
Police cordoned off a shopping mall complex in Sydney after stabbing attacks were reportedImage: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

Australian police say six people have been killed in stabbing attacks at a Sydney shopping mall, with the suspected attacker also shot dead by police.

Five of the victims died at the scene, and one died later in hospital, police said.

Five of those killed were women, and the sixth fatality a man, they said.

The incidents occurred at the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping complex, with hundreds told to evacuate the area.

Knife attacker kills six people in Sydney mall

What do we know so far?

A single person began stabbing people in the mall, attacking nine people, before a police inspector shot him, Assistant Police Commissioner Anthony Cooke told reporters.

Cooke said the senior officer was alone when she confronted the suspect and that by her actions, she had saved several lives. He said the suspect had been shot after he turned and raised a knife at the policewoman.

He said the suspect in the attack is believed to have acted alone, after initial reports suggested there might have been two perpetrators.

Police said the attacker is believed to have been a 40-year-old man who was known to authorities and that if this was true, the motivation for the attack would not be terrorism.

An ambulance service spokesperson told Reuters news agency that eight people, including a child — later reported to be a nine-month-old baby — had been taken to hospital with injuries. Broadcaster ABC said some of the wounded are in critical condition.

Emergency services were called to the mall just before 4 p.m. (0600 GMT) following the reports of the stabbings, police in the state of New South Wales said in a statement.

Eyewitness accounts of Sydney mall attack

Scenes of chaos

Several social media posts showed crowds fleeing the mall and police cars and emergency services rushing to the area. Security camera footage broadcast by local media showed a man wearing an Australian rugby league jersey running around the shopping centre with a large knife.

Australia is a country with a relatively low rate of violent crime and tight weapons laws, and this incident has caused great public shock.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said that "the devastating scenes of Bondi Junction are beyond words or understanding." 

He also praised the bravery of strangers who helped each other and the woman police inspector who confronted the knife-wielding attacker.

"She is certainly a hero. There is no doubt that she saved lives through her action," Albanese said. 

Britain's King Charles III, who is also the head of state of Australia, said that he and his wife Queen Camilla were "horrified" by the "senseless" stabbings.

"While details of these shocking circumstances are still emerging, our thoughts are also with those who were involved in the response, and we give thanks for the bravery of the first responders and emergency services," he said.

Meanwhile, Pope Francis said he was "deeply saddened" by the attack.

 tj/rc (Reuters, AFP, AP)