London: A mass stabbing at a busy shopping centre in the British city of Manchester on Friday left five people injured, prompting the counter-terrorism officers to take a lead of the investigation into the attack.
Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said that given the location and nature of the incident, specialist officers are continuing to investigate after a man was arrested on suspicion of serious assault.
The shopping centre is in the vicinity of the Manchester Arena, which was the site of a terror attack by an Islamic State (ISIS) claimed suicide bomber in 2017, who killed 22 people during an Ariana Grande concert.
"We can confirm that five people have been stabbed and taken to hospital. Given the location of the incident and its nature officers from Counter Terrorism Police North West are leading the investigation as we determine the circumstances," the GMP statement said.
However, the police force said it is keeping an open mind about the motivation of the "terrible incidents".
"A man in his 40s - who was arrested at the scene on suspicion of serious assault - remains in custody for questioning," the statement said.
The shopping centre was evacuated as police responded to reports of the stabbings.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson tweeted: "Shocked by the incident in Manchester and my thoughts are with the injured and all those affected.
"Thank you to our excellent emergency services who responded and who are now investigating what happened." Social media posts show a large number of officers at the scene and the suspect being Tasered. A shop worker, named Jordan, told the BBC that a man was running around with a knife lunging at multiple people.
David Allinson, centre director of Manchester Arndale, said: "The centre has been evacuated while police investigate the incident.
"We are unable to comment any further as the incident is currently being handled by Greater Manchester Police, who we will continue to support with their investigation." There are no reports of fatalities from the incident.