Author Salman Rushdie was attacked and stabbed on the stage at an event in New York City on Friday. He was about to deliver his speech when the attacker, a 24-year-old Muslim man Hadi Matar, stormed onto the stage and stabbed the author multiple times.
Here's how it unfolded:
- Author Salman Rushdie attended the event to deliver a speech on how the US was a safe haven for exiled writers.
At around 11 am (local NY time), Rushdie was seated on stage and being introduced when the attacker, dressed in black, jumped onto the stage and stabbed the author multiple times.
- Rushdie fell down in a pool of blood with stab wounds, even on the side of his neck.
"Rita Landman, an endocrinologist who was in the audience, walked on stage to offer assistance after the talk. She said that Mr Rushdie had multiple stab wounds, including one to the right side of his neck, and that there was a pool of blood under his body. But she said he appeared to be alive and was not receiving CPR," The New York Times reported.
- "People were saying, He has a pulse, he has a pulse he has a pulse," the report quoted Landman as saying.
Associated Press reporter, Joshua Goodman, who sat among the audience said, "It was very surreal is the only way you'd describe it. This was the last place you'd expect something like this."
- The audience tackled the attacker and Rushdie was then treated onstage following the assault.
The attacker, later identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, a sympathiser of the Iranian government that had called for Rushdie's death, was caught immediately.
- A bloodied Rushdie was airlifted from a field adjacent to the venue to a hospital in northwestern Pennsylvania where the 75-year-old writer underwent surgery.
The interviewer with Rushdie was also attacked during the incident and he suffered a minor head injury, the police said.
- Rushdie "will likely lose one eye; the nerves in his arm were severed, and his liver was stabbed and damaged," the writer's agent Andrew Wylie said.
Who is Salman Rushdie?
Salman Rushdie, the Mumbai-born controversial author had faced Islamist death threats for years after writing 'The Satanic Verses' in 1988 which forced him into hiding for nine years.
A year after the book's publication, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini called for Rushdie's execution for publishing a book with 'blasphemous content'.
Since the 1980s, Rushdie's writing has led to death threats from Iran, which has offered a USD 3 million reward for anyone who kills him.
(With inputs from AFP, AP, PTI and ANI)