London police charge man with attempted murder in stabbing of Orthodox rabbi

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Medics at the scene of a stabbing of an ultra-Orthodox man in London on June 12, 2020. (Screen capture / Twitter)

Authorities identify suspect as Stanley Francis, 44, say incident not being investigated as terror-related; victim Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger in stable condition.

UK police charged a man with attempted murder on Saturday following the stabbing of an Orthodox Jewish man in north London the day before.

Police identified the suspect as Stanley Francis, 44, of the Stoke Newington neighborhood in London, where the attack occurred.

Francis was also charged with possession of an offensive weapon, and will appear in court on Monday, The Guardian reported.

Police arrested a suspect, apparently Francis, who was restrained at the scene by bystanders.

The victim was named as 50-year-old Rabbi Alter Yaakov Schlesinger of the Satmar Yeshiva in Stamford Hill, according to the Jewish Chronicle. He suffered multiple stab wounds and was airlifted to hospital but is reported to be in stable condition.

The suspect was wrestled to the ground during the attack and pinned down until authorities arrived. The stabbing occurred in broad daylight Friday morning at a bank on Stoke Newington High Street, police said.

Police have said the incident is not currently being investigated as terror-related but have not yet stated a motive. A knife was recovered at the scene, according to a Guardian report.

Police have appealed for more witnesses to come forward.

“The victim was stabbed in broad daylight as he went about his business,” said Detective Sergeant James Tipple from Hackney CID, according to Sky News.

“He suffered multiple stab wounds in what was a horrific incident and will undoubtedly stay with him for a long time to come. I know many people saw this attack and, if anyone has any footage or information about this incident, please come forward and tell us what you know,” Tipple said.

The Community Security Trust, British Jewry’s watchdog and security service, said it was aware of the incident. “We are in full contact with Police and there is no current assessment that this was, or was not, antisemitic,” it said.

One of the bystanders who helped subdue the attacker was named as Lazar Friedlander, a construction site manager who ran to the scene with his brother, Matt, after hearing “a serious scream.”

“We ran outside, I saw a Jewish man covered in blood,” Friedlander told the BBC and other publications. “I’m Jewish myself, and I can see another Jewish man shouting ‘hold him, catch him, he’s got a knife! Stabbing!’”

“There were a couple of other people trying to grab him. Me and my brother managed to force him down and put his hands behind his back until the police came,” he said.

“I wouldn’t call myself a hero. You act in the heat of the moment,” added Friedlander.

A delivery man at the scene also helped the brothers hold down the suspect, video footage showed.

(Times of Israel).

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