People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre in Sydney, Australia. AP Photo

Six killed in stabbing spree at Sydney mall

Attacker was shot dead by police but his identity and motive not yet clear

Six people were fatally stabbed at a Sydney mall on Saturday before their attacker was shot dead, police in Australia’s New South Wales state said.

The incident occurred at the Westfield Bondi Junction mall complex, which was packed with Saturday afternoon shoppers.

“I’m advised that there are five victims who are now deceased as a result of the actions of this offender,” said

Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cooke initially reported that five people had been killed in the attack before police raised the death toll to six.

The attacker’s motive was not immediately clear, but terrorism could not be ruled out, Mr Cooke said.

“I do not know at this stage who he is. You would understand this is quite raw. Inquiries are very new and we are continuing to make attempts to identify the offender in this matter,” he said.

A New South Wales Ambulance spokesperson told AFP that eight patients were taken to hospitals across Sydney, including a young child who was taken to the city’s children’s hospital.

“They all have traumatic injuries,” the official said.

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 and injured people lying on the floor.

Mr Cooke said a police inspector single-handedly confronted and shot the attacker soon after arriving on the scene, “saving a range of people’s lives”.

“She confronted the offender who had moved, by this stage, to level five.

“As she continued to walk quickly behind to catch up with him he turned to face her, raised a knife, she discharged a firearm and that person is now deceased,” he said.

Hundreds of people were evacuated from the shopping centre as emergency services responded to the attack at around 4pm.

Sky News broadcast footage of a man with a knife in shorts and a green and yellow shirt being confronted by another man on an escalator.

ABC News Australia spoke to a witness, who did not want to be identified, and reported that the person “saw a bloke in a green shirt start stabbing people indiscriminately”.

Another witness told the broadcaster about the moment the attacker was shot: “He just started floating towards us and all I heard was ‘put it down’ and then she shot him.

“But we were in no doubt, if she didn’t shoot him, he would have kept going. He was on the rampage.”

With reporting from agencies

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