An Afghan man wielding a large knife killed two Portuguese women and injured several others at an Ismaili Muslim center in Lisbon, the Portugal capital.
The ABC News said the Portuguese authorities have commenced an investigation into the Tuesday’s stabbing attack as a possible terror act.
The women were Portuguese staff members at the center, Ismaili community leader Narzim Ahmad revealed.
Local Afghan community representatives and Portuguese authorities described the man as a refugee from Afghanistan who was receiving help from the Ismaili Community.
Officers dispatched to the center on Tuesday morning encountered a man armed with a knife, according to a police statement.
The officers ordered him to surrender and he was shot when he advanced toward them, the statement said.
A suspect was in police custody at a Lisbon hospital as investigators intensified efforts to see if it was an act of terrorism.
Millions of Afghans have fled violence and poverty in their country, often risking their lives to get to Europe, ABC News said.
The suspect is a “young man” who arrived in Portugal through a European Union program that transfers asylum-seekers to member countries to help relieve pressure on Mediterranean nations such as Greece and Italy, Portuguese Interior Minister José Luis Carneiro said.
The minister said the man’s wife died in a refugee camp in Greece, leaving him to care alone for three children, ages 9, 7 and 4. Authorities had no information indicating he had been violent in the past, Carnieiro said.
“From what we know, he was a calm person who had received help from the Ismaili community in terms of knowledge of languages, knowledge, food care, care for younger children,” he said.
Omer Taeri, president of the Association of the Afghan Community in Portugal, told CNN Portugal the suspect arrived in the country last year.
He said the alleged attacker suffered from “psychological trauma” after the death of his wife and was worried about his children.
Taeri asked for people to not “judge an entire community by one incident.”
Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa said police shot the suspect and told reporters the attack was “a criminal act.”
“Everything points to this being an isolated incident,” Costa said, without elaborating.
Armed police from a special operations unit could formed a perimeter outside the building following the incident.
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