POLICE have been praised for their ‘incredible bravery’ after halting a suspected terror attack targeting new year revellers.
One officer was stabbed in the shoulder tackling a heavily-built man during a frenzied knife attack at Manchester’s Victoria train station that left a couple in their 50s seriously injured.
Asst Ch Con Sean O’Callaghan, of the British Transport Police, said he was ‘incredibly proud’ of four officers who tackled the attacker as he shouted ‘long live the caliphate’, a reference to Daesh.
‘They were fearless, running towards danger and preventing further harm coming to passengers,’ Mr O’Callaghan added. BBC producer Sam Clack was yards away from the knifeman. He reported hearing a ‘bloodcurdling scream’ as a man with a 12in-blade launched the attack not far from the Manchester Arena where 22 people were killed in a suicide blast during an Ariana Grande concert in May 2017.
The four officers tasered and pepper-sprayed the attacker before reinforcements arrived. One witness said: ‘I’m in awe of the British Transport Police. As soon as I heard the screaming they were running to the scene to protect everyone. They are heroes.’
Home secretary Sajid Javid last night praised the ‘swift and brave’ response. The stabbed officer — a sergeant in his 30s — has left hospital. The couple — thought to be from Manchester — have wounds to their faces and abdomen and could be in hospital for ‘some time’.
An address thought to be the 25-year-old suspect’s home in the Cheetham Hill area was searched yesterday. He is thought to have arrived from The Netherlands with his Somali parents and four siblings around 12 years ago.
Greater Manchester Police’s Asst Ch Con Russ Jackson said they were treating the attack as terrorism but were ‘retaining an open mind in relation to the motivation’.
■ AT LEAST four people have been injured after a motorist drove into a crowd of people in Germany yesterday. A 50-year-old man aimed his silver Mercedes at a crowd, hitting Syrian and Afghan citizens, in Bottrop. Police said the attack was possibly motivated by ‘anti-foreigner views’.