Victims were employees at the centre
Two women were killed and several people were injured during an attack at the Ismaili Centre in Lisbon this morning (March 28).
According to PSP police, the attacker, an Afghan man, ignored police’s orders to stop and approached agents with “a large knife” in his hand. He was shot in the leg, having been taken to Santa Maria Hospital where is undergoing surgery.
The two victims have been described as employees of the Ismaili Centre and were both Portuguese.
One of the people injured is a teacher at the centre who was stabbed in the neck and has been taken to hospital.
PSP police say they were alerted to the attack at 10.57am and took “one minute” to arrive at the scene. They have clarified that the situation is under control but asked people to stay away from the scene.
The case in now in the hands of PJ police’s Counterterrorism Unit, reports CNN Portugal.
The Association of the Afghan Community in Portugal has already reacted to the attack, describing the attacker as a “very calm man” who was “probably under a lot of stress.”
“A person doesn’t, just because it came into their head, attack other people. Something happened – maybe he was attacked and that is why, to defend himself, he resorted to this,” the association said.
“Nobody knows why this happened at this moment. Nobody can tell us why,” said association founder Omed Taeria. “We are trying to speak to authorities to know how to help.”
The association has confirmed that the attacker has family in Portugal but did not elaborate and asked Portugal to not judge the Afghan community based on this attack.
“Afghani people are not like this. We have a lot of Afghani people in Portugal, so people shouldn’t judge an entire community based on one person.”
Meanwhile, many have already condemned the attack.
Lisbon Mayor, Carlos Moedas has described it as a “heinous crime,” while President of Portugal’s Parliament, Augusto Santos Silva said he is “deeply disturbed by this vile attack.”
Portugal’s President of the Republic, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, and Prime Minister, António Costa, have both described the attack as an “isolated incident”. Costa added that it is “premature for any interpretations of the motivations of this criminal act.”