Several people were stabbed on Saturday April 13 afternoon in a shopping center in Sydney, in the Bondi district, six of whom died (one woman and five men). While local police had announced a provisional toll of five dead and eight people hospitalized, including a 9-month-old baby, a sixth person “died in hospital” from their injuries, a spokesperson said in the evening. Police also confirmed they had shot the assailant.

The attack occurred in the Westfield Bondi Junction shopping center, located in the iconic Bondi district, not far from the beach of the same name, late in the afternoon. Australian broadcaster ABC reported that police evacuated customers from the center, after being called to the scene shortly before 4 p.m. (local time, 8 a.m. Paris).

Karen Webb, commissioner of the local police, gave details in the evening on the profile of the attacker, apparently “a 40-year-old man” who has not yet been formally identified. According to Ms. Webb, this man, who acted alone, was known to the police, but “if this is the person [the police are thinking of, they] have no fear that he may have ideological motivations.” “In other words,” she said, “this is not a terrorist incident. »

“It’s too early to determine a motive.”

According to the first information released by the police, the man entered the shopping center shortly after 3 p.m. (local time, 7 a.m. in Paris), then left shortly after. He returned ten minutes later and “attacked [at least] nine people.” An inspector who was nearby went to the scene, “on the fifth floor” of the shopping center, and approached the attacker from behind to question him. According to the police account, the man then turned towards her, brandishing the knife, before she shot and killed him.

“I have been informed of the devastating events at Bondi Junction. Tragically, many casualties have been reported,” Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese responded to X. He added that “the first thoughts of all Australians are with those affected and their loved ones.”

At a press conference shortly afterwards in Canberra, the country’s capital, alongside Australian Federal Police Chief Reece Kershaw, Mr Albanese described the attack as “an act of violence horrible crime that indiscriminately targeted innocent people living an ordinary Saturday and doing their shopping.” “For all of us, this evening, the appalling scenes at Bondi Junction are beyond words and comprehension,” he added, before praising the work of the medical teams with the victims. “It is too early to determine a motive and it would be futile to speculate,” Mr Kershaw said.

Panic movement

Videos of the incident shared on social media show numerous ambulances and police cars, as well as crowds of people, around the shopping center. Footage from surveillance cameras inside the center, broadcast by Australian media, also shows a man with a large knife running through the mall, people fleeing and others lying on the ground injured. .

Witnesses who escaped from the center said there was panic at the time of the attack. Several people took refuge in a supermarket, where they stayed for about an hour.

As night fell, dozens of police and ambulances were still outside the mall, stretchers ready to transport the injured to nearby hospitals.

This type of attack is extremely rare in Australia. In November 2018, a knife-wielding individual killed one person and injured two others on a Melbourne street before being shot dead by police. The crime was claimed by the Islamic State (IS) organization.