Lisbon Muslim centre stabbing not terror attack: police

LISBON, Portugal - Investigators said Wednesday they had uncovered no indication a knife attack that left two women dead at a Lisbon Islamic centre was terror-related.

The alleged assailant, identified as an Afghan refugee, may have suffered a mental health crisis before the violence on Tuesday that ended with officers shooting and wounding him, police said.

"There is no indication that this is a terrorist attack" or involved the radicalisation of the suspect, said judicial police chief Luis Neves.

"What may be involved here, but only a psychiatric evaluation can determine it, is that it was a mental crisis", Neves said, adding the inquiry was ongoing.

Portuguese police officers stand guard in front of the Ismaili Islamic centre in Lisbon, after two people died following a knife attack that wounded several others, on March 28, 2023. "The attack left several people wounded and, for the moment, two dead," said police, adding that the suspected assailant had been arrested.


According to witnesses, the suspect was taking a language class at the Ismaili Muslim centre on Tuesday when his behaviour changed suddenly after taking a phone call.

A teacher was attacked and then two women who worked at the centre were fatally wounded before the assailant was shot by police. The suspect was in hospital on Wednesday.

Investigators have managed to trace the suspect's route from his home nation to his arrival in Greece, where his wife died in a fire. 

The alleged perpetrator, a father of three young children, arrived in Portugal in 2021 and planned to travel to Germany in the coming days with them, said Neves.

The Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims, generally known as the Ismailis, belong to the Shia branch of Islam, according to their website. 

The Ismaili Muslims are a "culturally diverse community" of around 15 million people living in over 25 countries around the world, it says.