"--IANS/EFE"
La Paz, June 27 (IANS/EFE) Eleven people were hurt when a man authorities described as mentally ill went on a stabbing spree at El Alto International Airport, which serves this Bolivian capital, officials said.

Initial accounts put the number of injured at seven.

Nine of the 11 victims were badly hurt, police commander Adolfo Cardenas told the media after the incident Thursday.

Seven of those listed in serious condition are women, he said.

A police officer, stabbed while trying to subdue the attacker, also suffered serious injuries, Cardenas said.

The assailant, who was taken into custody shortly after the stabbings, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation, the commander said, adding that the suspect's initial statements to police were incoherent.

The incident took place around 7:30 a.m. in the arrivals area of the terminal, witnesses told media outlets.

Deputy Interior Minister Jorge Perez characterised the suspect as a person with very serious mental problems.

One eyewitness told Radio Erbol that the attacker began by stabbing a clerk at a shop in the terminal.

In its web edition, La Razon newspaper cited another witness as saying that after he was apprehended, the assailant said he wanted to go to Jupiter and that they didn't let him get on the airplane.

Those injured were taken to hospitals in El Alto and neighbouring La Paz.

--IANS/EFE

ab/bg


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