Author Salman Rushdie is tended to after he was attacked during a lecture at the Chautauqua Institution in Chautauqua, New York, US [Joshua Goodman/AP Photo
Salman Rushdie, the author whose writing led to death threats from Iran in the 1980s, has been stabbed as he was about to give a lecture in southwestern New York state.
Police confirmed Rushdie was stabbed “at least once in the neck, and at least once in the abdomen” on Friday after an assailant attacked him and an interviewer.
Law enforcement identified the suspect late on Friday as a 24-year-old Hadi Matar, of Fairview, New Jersey.
“Mr Rushdie was airlifted to a local trauma centre and is still currently undergoing surgery,” New York State Police Major Eugene Staniszewski told reporters Friday afternoon. He added that officials do not have “any indication of a motive” at this “very early” stage of the investigation.
The Reuters news agency had cited a spokesperson for Rushdie hours earlier as saying that he was in surgery without providing details. New York Governor Kathy Hochul also said Rushdie was alive and “getting the care he needs at a local hospital”.
An Associated Press news agency reporter witnessed a man storm the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and begin punching or stabbing Rushdie as he was being introduced.
Stacey Schlosser, who witnessed the attack, told AP that Rushdie was stabbed six to eight times before the attacker was restrained.
“Nobody knew what to do. Nobody knew how to react. I mean, there were tons of people that rushed the stage,” Schlosser said.