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Attacker kills four at school in Japan

©Associated Press

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 8, 2001


TOKYO -- A man armed with a knife forced his way into an elementary school in western Japan today and stabbed at least 29 children and teachers, killing four of the students, Fire Department officials said.

TOKYO -- A man armed with a knife forced his way into an elementary school in western Japan today and stabbed at least 29 children and teachers, killing four of the students, Fire Department officials said.

Two children were killed immediately and two others died at hospitals shortly after the attack, said local Fire Department spokesman Tetsuo Higashimoto.

Police official Toshihiko Ajisaka said 26 children, mostly first and second graders, and three teachers were stabbed at the elementary school in Osaka.

Police said the attacker, a 37-year-old man who carried a knife with a six-inch blade, was arrested at the scene. He was also injured and taken to a local hospital.

The attacker was identified by police as Mamoru Takuma.

The school's principal, Hisao Yoshiuchi, said details of the attack were sketchy. He said there might have been more than one attacker.

National broadcaster NHK reported that the attack occurred during recess. It said most of the victims appeared to have suffered minor injuries.

It was not immediately clear what motivated the attack. Nearly 700 children attend the school.

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