Police officers stand near the scene of a mass knife attack at Parnell Square East in Dublin on Thursday. Three children and two adults were hurt in the assault, which happened near a school in the Irish capital. Photo by Mostafa Darwish/EPA-EFE
Nov. 23 (UPI) -- Three children, including a 5-year-old girl who sustained serious injuries, and two adults were hospitalized Thursday after a man armed with a knife attacked them in the city center of Dublin, authorities said.
A woman in her 30s was also seriously hurt in the attack at Parnell Square East, according to a spokesman for An Garda Síochána, Ireland's national police and security service.
The attack happened shortly after 1:30 p.m. in the square. Preliminary investigations indicated a man attacked three young children, an adult male and an adult female in the rampage.
In addition to the seriously injured girl, a 5-year-old boy and a 6-year-old girl were also hospitalized. The boy has since been released from medical care, Gardai spokesman Supt. Liam Geraghty said.
A man in his 50s was arrested at the scene and was hospitalized with serious injuries of his own, he said, adding that authorities currently do not believe terrorism was a motive in the attack, instead calling it a "stand-alone" incident.
The attack occurred close to a school in Parnell Square as classes were being let out and the seriously injured woman is believed to be an employee at the facility, The Irish Times reported.
A witness to the attack told the newspaper passers-by subdued the suspect, took a knife from him and began kicking him before others intervened.
"I am deeply shocked by the appalling attack on three innocent children and a woman in Dublin today," Irish Justice Minister Helen McEntee said in a statement, adding that police are "following a definite line of inquiry and are not looking for any other person at this time."
The attack has "shocked us all," she said, "and I have no doubt that the person responsible will be brought to justice."
"Our thoughts and our prayers go out to [the victims] and their families," added Irish taoiseach, or prime minister, Leo Varadkar. "I have been in contact with the Minister for Justice who is keeping me updated. The facts in this matter are still emerging."
He praised Dublin's emergency services for responding "very quickly."