Police officers stand near a forensics tent after a knife attack in Russell Square in London, Britain August 4, 2016.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
A female Israeli citizen was wounded and an American woman killed by a man with suspected mental health issues who went on a rampage with a knife in central London, the Foreign Ministry confirmed Thursday.
Four others were also injured in the attack, which police initially said could be linked to terrorism,
"The woman who was murdered was an American national. Those injured were Australian, American, Israeli and British," Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley told reporters outside police headquarters in central London.
No further details of the victims were immediately available.
Rowley said that a Norwegian national of Somali origin had been detained but they had found no evidence of radicalization to suggest the motive was related to terrorism.
"All of the work we have done so far increasingly points to this tragic incident as having been triggered by mental health issues," he said.
"We believe this was a spontaneous attack and that the victims were selected at random.
Earlier media reports had suggested one of the wounded was a Spanish national but Rowley made no mention of any Spanish victims.
Armed police were called at 10:33 p.m. (2133 GMT) after a man with a knife started to attack people in London's Russell Square, an elegant park near the site of a 2005 suicide bombing.
Police, who arrived within five minutes of being called, used a Taser electric shock gun while detaining the 19-year-old suspect. He was later formally arrested on suspicion of murder.
The investigation was being handled by homicide command with support from counter-terrorism officers, Rowley said.
The victim was treated at the scene but pronounced dead a short time later. The other injured - one woman and four men - were treated in hospital. Three were later discharged.
Police cordoned off the southern part of the square, which sits at the heart of London's university area and is close to landmarks such as the British Museum, for several hours as forensics officers examined the attack scene.
Later, workmen hosed blood off the pavement.
Britain says its terrorist attack threat level remains at "severe," the second-highest level, meaning a strike is "highly likely." Police had already promised to deploy more armed officers in the capital after a spate of deadly attacks in France, Germany and Belgium.
Attacks across Europe have heightened tensions between some communities, raised questions about the European Union's border policies and bolstered support for anti-EU far-right groups.
Police chiefs and security bosses have repeatedly warned that Islamic State fighters want to carry out attacks against Britain, a close ally of the United States.