3 stabbed in The Hague shopping street

Danny Kemp and Sara Magniette, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Nov 30 2019 07:22 AM

Police officers work near the site of a stabbing on a shopping street in The Hague, Netherlands on Nov. 29, 2019. Piroschka van de Wouw, Reuters

THE HAGUE, Netherlands—Three people were wounded in a stabbing in one of the main shopping streets in The Hague as people hunted bargains on Black Friday, police said.

Police said they were still hunting a male suspect following the attack, which happened in a department store in the center of the city.

Dutch media played down speculation about a terror motive but said police were still keeping an open mind about the incident, which came hours after 2 people were stabbed to death in a terror-related attack in London.

"We are currently taking all scenarios into account," a Dutch police spokeswoman was quoted as saying by the ANP news agency.

The stabbing happened at the Hudson's Bay department store in Grote Marktstraat, the biggest shopping area in The Hague, which is lined with major retailers and brands.

"We are conducting extensive investigations into the stab incident... Due to the complexity, this takes time," they added.

"We are still looking for the perpetrator."

Police said they were looking for a "slightly dark-skinned man" with curly hair aged between 40 and 50 wearing a black top, scarf and grey jogging bottoms.

Social media images showed shoppers running in panic away from the scene, on a nighttime shopping street lit by Christmas fairy lights.

EMERGENCY VEHICLES

Members of the public gathered behind a police cordon on the street, where shoppers had earlier been looking for bargains on Black Friday, an AFP correspondent at the scene said.

Police helicopters flew overhead and several emergency vehicles were on site, the correspondent said.

The stabbing was also not far from parliament in The Hague, which is the seat of government for the Netherlands and home to many international organizations.

The US embassy warned its nationals in The Hague to avoid the area because of "reports of a security incident" and told them to let loved ones know they were safe.

In the UK incident, 2 members of the public were killed in a stabbing on London Bridge in the heart of the capital. The suspected attacker was then tackled by passers-by and shot dead by police.

The Netherlands has seen a series of terror attacks and plots, although not so far on the scale of those in other European countries.

In March, 4 people were killed when a Turkish-born man opened fire on a tram in the city of Utrecht.

Dutch police on Monday arrested 2 suspected jihadists, one of them in The Hague, and charged them with planning a terror attack using suicide and car bombs.

Earlier this month, a Pakistani man was sentenced to 10 years in jail for a plot to kill far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.