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UK police arrest man over string of stabbings in Birmingham

LONDON (AP) — British police arrested a 27-year-old man early Monday on suspicion of murder and seven counts of attempted murder following a string of stabbings in a busy nightlife district in the central England city of Birmingham over the weekend.

West Midlands Police said the suspect remains in custody after being arrested at around 4 a.m. The arrest follows a large-scale police manhunt in the wake of the stabbings in the early hours of Sunday morning. Police released CCTV footage of the man they said was wanted on suspicion of murder.

A 23-year-old man was killed in the attacks and a man and a woman, ages 19 and 32, remain critically ill in hospital after suffering serious stab wounds. Following the arrest, Birmingham Police Commander, Chief Superintendent Steve Graham, said one line of enquiry “ultimately led us to an address in the Selly Oak area this morning where a man was arrested.”

“Clearly this is a crucial development but our investigation continues," he added. Local police have faced criticism of their response to the attacks, notably how the attacker was able to wander the city during his 90-minute rampage. The victims appeared to have been chosen at random.

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street has urged people to avoid speculating over any motives behind the attacks and to “remain calm but vigilant.” The stabbings took place at a time when nightlife is gradually resuming across city centers in the U.K. following the national coronavirus lockdown.

Official statistics show knife crime is on the rise in the U.K., where most guns are outlawed, although the number of homicides with blades fell in 2019 from the year before. Britain also has seen several recent extremist knife attacks, including a stabbing rampage in a city park in Reading, near London, in June that killed three people. A Libyan man has been charged.

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