Manchester police treat New Year's Eve stabbing of 3 as terrorism

A man and a woman suffered "very serious" injuries after a man holding a knife attacked people at a train station in the English city of Manchester.

Attack occurred at train station next to arena where suicide bomber killed 22 in 2017

A user-generated photo issued by the U.K. Press Association shows police restraining a man suspected of stabbing three people at Victoria Station in Manchester, England, late Monday. (Sam Clack/PA via AP)

Police in the English city of Manchester have detained a man under Britain's mental health act in the New Year's Eve stabbing of three people at a train station, but say a counter-terrorism investigation is still underway. 

Greater Manchester Chief Const. Ian Hopkins said a man and a woman suffered "very serious" injuries in the attack and remained in hospital. Both have abdominal injuries and the woman also has injuries to her face.

A police sergeant who was stabbed in the shoulder has been released.

The incident happened at Victoria Station shortly before 9 p.m. Monday. The busy rail station is next to the Manchester Arena, where a suicide bomber killed 22 people at an Ariana Grande concert in 2017.

Police officers stand at the end of a tram platform following the stabbing at Victoria Station in Manchester. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

Police have not yet provided a motive for the stabbings, but said in a statement there is nothing to suggest anyone else was involved. A witness said the suspect shouted Islamic slogans during the frenzied attack. 

Assistant Chief Const. Russ Jackson said police believe they have identified the suspect and continue to search his home in the Cheetham Hill neighbourhood of Manchester. 

'Blood-curdling scream'

BBC producer Sam Clack, who was on the train platform, said he heard a "blood-curdling scream" when the attack started and saw a man dressed in black having what looked like a fight with two victims. 

Clack said he heard the man with the weapon shout Islamist slogans during the assault, and then the attacker was chased by police. 

"He came towards me. I looked down and saw he had a kitchen knife with a black handle with a good 12-inch blade," Clack said, adding his reaction "was just fear, pure fear." 

Clack said police used pepper spray and a stun gun to bring the man down. 

Police continue to search the house where the suspect lives. (Phil Noble/Reuters)

British police tried to reassure the public that the area was safe despite the attack. 

The incident is "not ongoing" and there is "currently no intelligence to suggest that there is any wider threat," Assistant Chief Const. Rob Potts said.

"I know that the events of last night will have affected many people and caused concern," Hopkins said. "That the incident happened so close to the scene of the terrorist attack on 22 May, 2017, makes it even more dreadful."

Prime Minister Theresa May expressed concern for the victims and thanked first responders for their "courageous response."

Extra police officers were on the city's streets Tuesday as a precaution.

Britain's official threat level has long been set at "severe," indicating that intelligence analysts believe an attack is highly likely.