Author Salman Rushdie is on ventilator and could lose an eye after he underwent surgery following a knife attack at a literary event in New York, Friday. The attacker has been identified as Hadi Matar, 24, from New Jersey.
So far, little is known about the young man. Here are the five facts ascertained:
- A preliminary review of Matar’s social media showed him to be sympathetic to “Shia extremism” and the causes of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard (IRGC).
- Though there are no direct links between Matar and the IRGC, investigators reportedly found images of Iranian commander Qassem Solemani, who was assassinated in 2020, in a cell phone messaging app belonging to Matar.
- Hadi Matar reportedly jumped up on the stage as Rushdie was about to give a speech at the Chautauqua Institution near the New York city, which holds arts programmes. Henry Reese, the interviewer, also suffered a head injury in the attack.
- Police believe Matar was “working alone”. The authorities, however, are in the “process of obtaining search warrants for various items. There was a backpack located at the scene. There was also electronic devices”.
- Hadi Matar is from Fairview, New Jersey. Authorities are still looking into Matar’s nationality and his criminal records, if any.
How The Events Unfolded?
At 10:47 am local time (8.17 pm IST), Rushdie had just arrived on stage at the Chautauqua Institution to deliver the lecture. “Shortly thereafter, the suspect jumped onto the stage and attacked Rushdie, stabbing him at least once in the neck and once in the abdomen. In all, he must have stabbed Rushdie at least 10-15 times in 20 seconds” an eye witness reportedly shared with the media. Several members of the staff at the institution and audience members rushed to seize the suspect. A Trooper with the New York State Police, who was at the institution, took the suspect into custody with the assistance of a Chautauqua County Sheriff’s deputy.
Hadi Matar had a “pass to access the grounds,” Dr Michael E Hill, president of the Chautauqua Institution, said in the news conference. Guests can purchase passes to attend programs, Hill added.