Manchester stabbing: counter-terror police take lead after three attacked at Victoria station

Counter-terrorism police are leading an investigation after a man went on a rampage with a knife in Manchester during New Year’s Eve celebrations on Monday night, stabbing three people including a police officer and shouting Islamist slogans.

National security officials in government, police and security services were assisting the investigation after a police officer stabbed in the shoulder and a man and woman in their fifties left with serious injuries in the attack at Manchester Victoria railway station.

A man was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Police said there was no intelligence to suggest a wider threat to the public. Rob Potts, assistant chief constable of Greater Manchester police, said officers were keeping an “open mind”. He said: “Tonight’s events will have understandably worried people but I need to stress that the incident is not ongoing. A man is in custody and there is currently no intelligence to suggest that there is any wider threat at this time.”

Police officers stand at the end of a tram platform following a stabbing at Victoria Station in Manchester, Britain, January 1, 2019. REUTERS/Phil Noble

© Thomson Reuters Police officers stand at the end of a tram platform following a stabbing at Victoria Station in Manchester, Britain, January 1, 2019. REUTERS/Phil NobleBritish Transport police said: “We received the call at 8.52pm on Monday 31 December. A man has been detained and two members of the public, a man and a woman, have been taken to hospital with knife injuries. A BTP officer is also receiving treatment for a stab wound to the shoulder.”

The woman had injuries to her face and abdomen and the man had injuries to his abdomen.

Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester on January 1, 2019, following a stabbing on December 31, 2018. - A man, a woman and a police officer were being treated for knife injuries, police said Monday, after a stabbing at a railway station in the British city of Manchester. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester on January 1, 2019, following a stabbing on December 31, 2018. – A man, a woman and a police officer were being treated for knife injuries, police said Monday, after a stabbing at a railway station in the British city of Manchester. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)One witness said the attacker had shouted words pointing to a political motive. Sam Clack, a BBC producer, was waiting for a tram when the attack took place. Clack told the Press Association: “I just heard this most bloodcurdling scream and looked down the platform. What it looked like was a guy in his 60s with a woman of similar age and another guy all dressed in black.

“It looked like they were having a fight, but she was screaming in this blood curdling way. I saw police in high-vis come towards him. He came towards me. I looked down and saw he had a kitchen knife with a black handle with a good 12-inch blade. It was just fear, pure fear.”

Clack said police officers used a Taser and pepper spray before, “six or seven” officers jumped on the man.

Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester on January 1, 2019, following a stabbing on December 31, 2018. - A man, a woman and a police officer were being treated for knife injuries, police said Monday, after a stabbing at a railway station in the British city of Manchester. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester on January 1, 2019, following a stabbing on December 31, 2018. – A man, a woman and a police officer were being treated for knife injuries, police said Monday, after a stabbing at a railway station in the British city of Manchester. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)He added: “It was scary. I have never been so scared in my life. Someone with a knife six to eight feet away, he had just stabbed someone. It was the proximity. It just highlights the fact that it can happen anywhere.”

Victoria station was closed after the attack, though the city’s fireworks display in Albert Square went ahead with security increased.

The incident comes after a year without any terrorist attacks getting past efforts by MI5 and police to thwart them. But both say they are still extremely busy dealing with a total of 700 investigations into terrorism.

In 2017 a total of five attacks escaped efforts to detect them, four in London and one in Manchester.

Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester on January 1, 2019, following a stabbing on December 31, 2018. - A man, a woman and a police officer were being treated for knife injuries, police said Monday, after a stabbing at a railway station in the British city of Manchester. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP)        (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

Police officers stand near a cordon at Manchester Victoria Station, in Manchester on January 1, 2019, following a stabbing on December 31, 2018. – A man, a woman and a police officer were being treated for knife injuries, police said Monday, after a stabbing at a railway station in the British city of Manchester. (Photo by Paul ELLIS / AFP) (Photo credit should read PAUL ELLIS/AFP/Getty Images)The terrorism threat level for then UK remains at severe, meaning an attack is assessed as being highly likely.

In the early stages of the Manchester investigation detectives will examine any jihadist links of the suspect, and also his mental health history.

North West ambulance service said three people had been taken to Manchester Royal Infirmary in a “serious condition”.

“We sent three ambulances in response to a major trauma,” said a spokesperson. “The victims were taken in to the hospital on standby, indicating the seriousness of their conditions.”

Source: Theguardian.com

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