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An armed police officer outside the Arndale Centre in Manchester. Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images

Man arrested on suspicion of terrorism after stabbings at Manchester shopping centre

A 41-year-old suspect has been arrested.

LAST UPDATE | 11 Oct 2019

A MAN WHO stabbed three people at a shopping centre in Manchester has been arrested on suspicion of terrorism, Greater Manchester Police have said. 

Police were called to the Arndale Centre at 11.15am on Friday to reports of a stabbing. A 41-year-old suspect was detained and three people were taken to hospital with stab injuries. 

Counter terrorism police were called to investigate at 3.15pm.  

Greater Manchester Police Assistant Chief Constable Russ Jackson said the suspect had been arrested on suspicion of the commission, preparation and instigation of an act of terrorism.

He added that investigators did not believe anyone else to be involved in the attack. He said the suspect was armed with a large knife as he entered the shopping centre when he “lunged” at shoppers. 

The man has been taken to custody for questioning. 

Police confirmed that four people were injured as part of the attack. Previously, police had said five people had been stabbed. 

“In these early stages we are keeping an open mind about the motivation of this terrible incident and the circumstances as we know them,” a statement from the Greater Manchester Police said. 

“Given the location of the incident and its nature officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West are leading the investigation as we determine the circumstances.”

stabbing-at-manchester-arndale-centre A screenshot of video showing police running through the Arndale Centre in Manchester. @GrizzleMarine / PA Wire/PA Images @GrizzleMarine / PA Wire/PA Images / PA Wire/PA Images

UK prime minister Boris Johnson said he was “shocked” by the attack. 

“My thoughts are with the injured and all those affected. Thank you to all our excellent emergency services who responded and who are now investigating what happened,” he wrote on Twitter

Police said that a 19-year-old woman was taken to hospital with stab wounds, while another woman was also brought to hospital with stab injuries. Their conditions were described as stable. 

A man in his 50s was also hospitalised with stab wounds. A woman in her 40s, who was not stabbed, was assessed by paramedics but didn’t need to go to hospital.  

Video shared on social media shows a man on the ground being restrained by police.

Nigel Murphy, the deputy leader of Manchester City Council, said that “our thoughts are with those who have been injured”. 

“This incident is under control and Greater Manchester Police and other emergency services are at the scene,” he said in a statement

Murphy asked people to stay away from the scene to allow the police and emergency services “to do their work”. 

“We would encourage people not to speculate about this incident but to refer to trusted official sources for updates,” he added. 

The Manchester Metrolink confirmed that trams were delayed because of the incident. 

Freddie Houlder, aged 22, from Market Drayton was in the Arndale Centre when he heard “a load of screams just outside” the shop he was in.

He said a woman then came into the shop and told others “a guy just ran past the shop and tried to stab me”.

“Luckily she had quite a thick jacket – she thought originally it was a fake knife because of how easily it grazed off but police came in and said it was a real knife and she burst in to tears,” he added. 

He said he was evacuated several minutes later at which point he saw “a bunch of curtains covering someone seriously injured or dead, I don’t know”.

“I definitely don’t think it was gang violence because this guy was going around trying to stab random people, I believe.”

Local Liberal Democrat councillor Richard Kilpatrick called the incident “awful”. 

“Awful scenes from the Manchester Arndale. My thoughts are with the injured and those that had to live through those scenes. Well done to our police force today for their responses. Keep safe everyone,” he wrote on Twitter

With reporting from Press Association

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