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Man stabs, kills 6 people in Australia shopping mall, small child among injured, police say

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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 center, 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.

"This was a horrific act of violence, indiscriminately targeting innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday doing their shopping," he told a press conference.

"Tonight the first thoughts of all Australians are with the victims of these terrible acts."

Australia has some of the world's toughest gun and knife laws, and attacks such as the one on Saturday are rare.

People are led out from the Westfield Shopping Centre where multiple people were stabbed in Sydney, Saturday, April 13, 2024. A man stabbed six people to death at the busy Sydney shopping center Saturday before he was fatally shot, police said. (AP Photo/Rick Rycroft)

'On the rampage'

Emergency services were called to the mall, about three kilometers (1.9 miles) from Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach and popular with children and families, just before 4 p.m. (6 GMT) after the stabbing reports, police said.

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 neutralized," he told Reuters.

"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 told Reuters 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 jewelry store.

An eyewitness described the police officer 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 continues, police said.

(Reporting by Kirsty Needham, Jill Gralow, Sam McKeith, Praveen Menon and Lewis Jackson in Sydney; Writing by Alasdair Pal; Editing by Stephen Coates, William Mallard, William Maclean) 

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