what we know about his attacker

HANDOUT / AFP British writer Salman Rushdie was airlifted to the nearest hospital after his stabbing in Chautauqua in western New York.


British writer Salman Rushdie was airlifted to the nearest hospital after his stabbing in Chautauqua in western New York.

SALMAN RUSHDIE – “The news is not good”. Salman Rushdie’s agent Andrew Wylie gave Friday evening August 12 at the New York Times details on the state of health of the 75-year-old writer, hospitalized and operated on urgently after being stabbed in the neck and abdomen on the stage of an amphitheater of a cultural center in Chautauqua, in the upstate New York.

“Salman will probably lose an eye. The nerves in his arm were severed and he was stabbed in the liver.”he detailed, specifying that the Briton was placed on an artificial respirator.

“We think he was alone”

State Police Major Eugene Staniszewski also said his attacker, arrested at the scene and taken into custody before a likely indictment, has been identified. His name is Hadi Matar.

The 24-year-old is from Fairview in neighboring New Jersey. “It is still too early to indicate the motivations for this act (…) but the cause of this attack will be determined later”, added the policeman, specifying that the FBI was present to carry out the investigation. “We believe he was alone, but we are verifying that this was indeed the case”.

The suspect ” had an access card to the venue” of the lecture that should have been given to Salman Rushdie and “a fake driver’s license, using the name of a Hezbollah leader”, Imad Mughniyah, according to information from Telegram and several other American media.

The assailant praised by the conservative press in Iran

Imad Mughniyah is a former commander and co-founder of Hezbollah’s armed wing, killed in a 2008 car bomb explosion in Damascus, Syria. He was wanted by Interpol and the United States for a series of attacks and kidnappings. Implicated by Hezbollah, Israel denied being behind his assassination.

According to police sources contacted by the New York Post, Hadi Matar is a Shiite of Lebanese origin, a claimed supporter of the Shiite regime in Iran. As Romain Caillet, an Islamologist specializing in the global jihadist movement, points out, figures of the regime are highlighted on his social networks, in particular Ayatollah Khomeini, who died in Tehran in 1989 but author of the fatwa against Salman Rushdie.

Iran’s main ultra-conservative daily, Kayhancongratulated the assailant on Saturday. “Bravo to this brave and duty-conscious man who attacked the apostate and vicious Salman Rushdie”wrote the newspaper, whose boss is appointed by the Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “Let us kiss the hand of him who tore the neck of the enemy of God with a knife”continues the text.

According to several American media, including the washington postinvestigators recovered a backpack and several electronic devices from Chautauqua’s room and his home was searched in New Jersey.

Questions and criticisms also target the organization and security of the event, qualified as“fairly light” by the authorities given the threats against Salman Rushdie and the bounty on his head raised to more than $3 million in 2016 by the Iranian regime. Witnesses told CNN there were no strip searches for the public, nor metal detectors.

The author had long been forced to live in hiding and under police protection, going from cache to cache. Many translators of his book have been injured by attacks, even killed, such as the Japanese Hitoshi Igarashi, victim of several stab wounds in 1991.

See also on The HuffPost: Attack on rue des Rosiers: 40 years later, (finally) the national tribute

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