Two People Killed in Knife Attack at Muslim Center in Lisbon

A man stabbed two people to death and wounded several others at a Muslim center in Portugal’s capital, Lisbon, on Tuesday before he was shot, wounded and taken into custody, the Portuguese police said.

The motive behind the attack, at the Ismaili Center in Lisbon, was not immediately clear, according to officials.

The police said in a statement that they arrived at the site of the attack a few minutes before 11 a.m. local time and ordered the attacker, who had a large knife, to stop. Instead, the statement said, he advanced toward the police with the knife in hand. The police then opened fire and wounded the assailant, who was taken to a hospital and is in police custody.

Rahim Shamji, a spokesman for the Ismaili community, said that the two people killed were women and that they were doing some work at the center. Portuguese news media reported that the attacker was an Afghan citizen, though the police have not confirmed this.

The center, a large complex of stone and glass buildings, gardens and patios, is a meeting place for the Portuguese Ismaili Muslim community. Ismailis belong to a sub-sect of Shiite Islam, and recognize Prince Karim Aga Khan, a billionaire philanthropist, as their spiritual leader.

Crime scene investigators at the Ismaili Center on Tuesday.Credit…Antonio Cotrim/EPA, via Shutterstock

In 2015, more than 40 members of the Ismaili community were killed in Karachi, Pakistan, when gunmen opened fire on a bus. Jundullah, a Taliban splinter group, claimed responsibility for the attack.

Prime Minister António Costa of Portugal called the attack on Tuesday “a criminal act” and said that it appeared to be “an isolated act.” But he said it was premature to comment on the attacker’s motive.

“The Ismaili community is shocked and saddened by this incident and is providing support to the families of the victims,” the community said in a statement on its website. The statement said that Mr. Costa had “conveyed his solidarity to the victims’ families and to the Ismaili community,” and that “the perimeter of the building” had been secured.

Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, Portugal’s president, also said that initial indications pointed to an isolated act.

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