SYDNEY: An attacker who fatally knifed six people in a Sydney mall was shot dead by police in the beachside suburb of Bondi on Saturday, police said, as hundreds fled the scene.

The assailant was shot by a police officer after he attacked shoppers in the busy Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, police said in a statement.

Five of the six victims killed were women, while eight people, including a nine-month-old baby, were taken to hospital with stab wounds, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb told a press conference. Police at this stage do not believe the attack was terrorism-related, Webb said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there was no indication yet of the man’s motive.

Victims include five women; nine-month-old baby among injured

“This was a horrific act of violence, indiscriminately targeting innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday doing their shopping,” he told a presser.

“Tonight the first thoughts of all Australians are with the victims of these terrible acts,” he said.

Pope ‘deeply saddened’

Pope Francis was “deeply saddened” by the stabbing attack, the Vatican said Saturday.

“Pope Francis was deeply saddened to learn of the violent attack in Sydney and conveys his spiritual solidarity to all those affected by this senseless tragedy,” said Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin in a message addressed to the Archbishop of Sydney, Anthony Colin Fisher.

Australia has some of the world’s toughest gun and knife laws, and attacks such as the one on Saturday are rare. After the stabbing reports, police said, emergency services were called to the mall, about three kilometres from Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach and popular with children and families.

Witness account

Ayush Singh, 25, was working in a cafe in the mall when he saw the attack and then heard gunshots as police responded. “I saw the guy with the knife running and chasing people. As he walked just past beside me I heard two or three gunshots and the guy was neutralised,” he said.

“People around me were terrified. There were some old ladies I helped to get them inside a safe place inside the cafe.”

Two other witnesses said they heard shots. “Even 20 minutes after people were rushed out of the mall, I saw SWAT teams of people sweeping the surrounding streets,” one witness said.

The other witness said they saw a woman lying on the ground and took shelter in a jewellery store.

An eyewitness described the policewoman shooting the attacker to state broadcaster ABC. “If she did not shoot him, he would have kept going, he was on the rampage,” said the man, who did not give his name. “She went over and was giving him CPR. He had a nice big blade on him. He looked like he was on a killing spree.”

Several posts on social media showed crowds fleeing the mall and police cars and emergency services rushing to the area.

The mall will remain closed on Sunday while an investigation got underway, police said.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2024

Opinion

Editorial

Budget for stabilisation
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Budget for stabilisation

The proposed steps lack any “disruptive policy changes", especially to "right-size" the govt, and doubts remain on authorities' ability to enforce new measures.
State of the economy
13 Jun, 2024

State of the economy

THE current fiscal year is but another year lost. Going by the new Pakistan Economic Survey, which maps the state of...
Unyielding onslaught
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Unyielding onslaught

SEVEN soldiers paid the ultimate price in Lakki Marwat on Sunday when their vehicle was blown up in an IED attack,...
X diplomacy
Updated 12 Jun, 2024

X diplomacy

Both states can pursue adversarial policies, or come to the negotiating table and frankly discuss all outstanding issues, which can be tackled through dialogue.
Strange decisions
12 Jun, 2024

Strange decisions

THE ECP continues to wade deeper and deeper into controversy. Through its most recent decision, it had granted major...
Interest rate cut
Updated 11 Jun, 2024

Interest rate cut

The decision underscores SBP’s confidence that economic stability is gaining traction.