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Multiple deaths in Australia mall stabbing (VIDEOS)

Five people have been killed in a stabbing attack in Westfield Bondi Junction, an eastern suburb of Sydney, local police reported on Saturday.

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Earlier, New South Wales police confirmed that a “critical incident” took place following the shooting of an unidentified man in the area. They added that officers scrambled to the scene after receiving reports of multiple people being stabbed.

NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Anthony Cook said it appears that the attacker acted alone.

“As he moved to the center, he engaged with about nine people, and it’s clear that during that engagement he caused harm to those people, we believe by stabbing them with a weapon he was carrying,” the officer told the media. He added that an inspector who was nearby tried to stop the man, and had to shoot him dead when he raised the knife against her.

“I’m advised that there are five victims who are now deceased,” he said, adding that several others have been admitted to the hospital, with some in serious or critical condition. Among those injured, he added, is a small child.

The official declined to speculate as to what the motive behind the stabbing was, but did not rule out that the incident was meant to be a terrorist attack.

Disturbing footage from the scene shows what appears to be a man armed with a knife chasing mallgoers. Other images from the area appear to show the suspect neutralized by the police.

Other videos appear to show two victims of the attack lying on the floor, with officers working to revive one of them.

According to another video that went viral on social media, the suspect met with considerable resistance from members of the public. One of the shoppers can be seen blocking his way up the escalator with what appears to be a long, bulky object.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded to the tragic incident by saying, “the first thoughts of all Australians are with those affected and their loved ones,” adding that “our hearts go out to those injured,” while thanking first responders and police for their work.

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