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SYDNEY: An attacker who fatally knifed six people in a Sydney mall was shot dead by police in the beachside suburb of Bondi on Saturday, police said, as hundreds fled the scene.

The assailant was shot by a police officer after he attacked shoppers in the busy Westfield Bondi Junction shopping centre, police said in a statement.

Five of the six victims killed were women, while eight people, including a nine-month-old baby, were taken to hospital with stab wounds, New South Wales Police Commissioner Karen Webb told a press conference.

Police at this stage do not believe the attack was terrorism-related, Webb said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said there was no indication yet of the man’s motive.

“This was a horrific act of violence, indiscriminately targeting innocent people going about an ordinary Saturday doing their shopping,” he told a press conference.

“Tonight the first thoughts of all Australians are with the victims of these terrible acts.”

Australia has some of the world’s toughest gun and knife laws, and attacks such as the one on Saturday are rare.

Emergency services were called to the mall, about three kilometres (1.9 miles) from Sydney’s iconic Bondi Beach and popular with children and families, just before 4 p.m. (0600 GMT) after the stabbing reports, police said.

Ayush Singh, 25, was working in a cafe in the mall when he saw the attack and then heard gunshots as police responded.

“I saw the guy with the knife running and chasing people. As he walked just past beside me I heard two or three gunshots and the guy was neutralised,” he told Reuters.

“People around me were terrified. There were some old ladies I helped to get them inside a safe place inside the cafe.”

Two other witnesses told Reuters they heard shots.

“Even 20 minutes after people were rushed out of the mall, I saw SWAT teams of people sweeping the surrounding streets,” one witness said.

The other witness said they saw a woman lying on the ground and took shelter in a jewellery store.

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