(LONDON) — Crowds in Australia have fled a Sydney shopping mall near Bondi Beach and police have confirmed that at least six people have been killed following a knife attack involving multiple stabbings that sparked a major police response in the area.

Local media have reported gunshots inside Westfield Mall at Bondi Junction near Bondi Beach — a well known destination for locals and tourists alike.

Police said a critical incident had been declared following the shooting of a male after reports of multiple stabbings.

“A critical incident has commenced following the shooting of male at Bondi Junction. Just before 4pm (Saturday 13 April 2024), emergency services were called to Westfield Bondi Junction following reports of multiple people stabbed,” said New South Wales (NSW) Police in a statement following the incident. “People are urged to avoid the area. Inquiries are continuing in relation to the incident and there are no further details.”

NSW Police confirmed in a press conference on Saturday evening that at least six people have been killed and the attacker was shot dead by a responding police officer.

The Sydney knifeman was identified as a 40-year-old male and his attack is not thought to be terror-related, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb said during a press conference on Saturday.

The police “don’t have fears for that person holding an ideation, in other words, that it’s not a terrorism incident,” Webb said.

Five women and one man have been identified as the victims of the attack. NSW Police said a nine-month-old baby is among the eight injured in hospital.

“There’s no suggestion there was anyone targeted, that could change. We will only know that in time,” Webb said.

Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s released a statement shortly after the attack.

“I have been briefed by the AFP on the devastating events at Bondi Junction. Tragically, multiple casualties have been reported and the first thoughts of all Australians are with those affected and their loved ones,” said Albanese. “Our hearts go out to those injured and we offer our thanks to those caring for them as well as our brave police and first responders.”

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