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Dutch police hunt suspect after three stabbed in The Hague

Dutch police hunt suspect after three stabbed in The Hague
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Dutch police kept up a huge manhunt on Saturday for an assailant who stabbed three youths in The Hague's main shopping area.

The Hague : Dutch police kept up a huge manhunt on Saturday for an assailant who stabbed three youths in The Hague's main shopping area.

Officials said they were keeping an open mind about the motive for the attack, which came as shoppers hunted bargains on Black Friday.

The incident caused panic in The Hague as it happened just hours after two people were stabbed to death in London allegedly by an ex-prisoner convicted of terrorism offences.

The male attacker ran off after the stabbings at a department store in the city centre's Grote Marktstraat, The Hague's main shopping area.

"We haven't arrested a suspect yet. So we are currently very busy trying the find the suspect," police spokeswoman Marije Kuiper told AFP.

"It's a little too early to speculate about that kind of thing," she said when asked about a possible terrorist motive, adding that investigators were still looking at several possible scenarios.

Police forensics officers were seen examining a knife found at the scene overnight. The victims were a 13-year-old boy from The Hague, a girl of 15 from Alphen aan den Rijn and a 15-year-old girl from Leiderdorp, the ANP news agency said, quoting police. They did not know each other, police said.

They were all allowed to go home from hospital overnight. Images on social media showed shoppers running in panic away from the scene, on a nighttime retail street lit by Christmas fairy lights.

Two teenage girls came running into the store after being stabbed, broadcaster NOS quoted witnesses as saying. "I saw two girls screaming and running away. A man fled. He jumped very athletically over benches to get away.

He looked like a cheetah," one witness told NOS. "People were trying to get away. but that didn't work. I was shocked." Police helicopters flew overhead and several emergency vehicles were on site, the correspondent said.

Police initially gave a description of a man they were looking for aged between 40 and 50 but later withdrew it, saying they were still investigating.

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