LONDON, Aug. 3 (UPI) — The woman who died in a knife attack in central London was a U.S. citizen, police said Thursday.
The attack happened just before 10:30 p.m. Wednesday in Russell Square, near the British Museum and a popular tourist area. Police said a woman “in her 60s” died at the scene. A second woman and four men sustained “various injuries,” police said, none life-threatening. They were identified as British, Israel, Australian and U.S. citizens, but their names have been revealed.
Police used a taser and arrested an unidentified 19-year-old Norwegian national of Somali origin near the scene. While the police counter-terrorism unit is part of the investigation, authorities said they believe the attack was an isolated incident and that the man’s mental health is likely a “significant factor.” He is being held at a local hospital, police said.
“At this stage we should keep an open mind regarding motive and consequently terrorism as a motivation remains… one line of inquiry for us to explore,” Scotland Yard’s assistant commissioner for specialist operations, Mark Rowley told reporters.
Witnesses, many staying at nearby hotels, reported hearing screaming, and said they observed a woman being given CPR while police arrested a suspect.
Rowley assured tourists in nearby hotels and residents, “As a precautionary measure tomorrow, Londoners will wake up and in the morning they will notice an increased police presence on the streets, including armed officers.”
The Norwegian Foreign Affairs Ministry said it appointed a liaison officer to assist in the case, adding the suspect emigrated from Norway to the United Kingdom 2002. A spokeswoman for the Israeli embassy in London said the Israeli woman injured was on holiday in Britain, visiting friends and family. An Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade spokeswoman said two Australians, a man and a woman, were injured in the attack; the man was hospitalized and released, and the woman will be releasde soon, she said.