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ROME – Italian police were investigating a Somali asylum seeker on Sunday for attempted murder after he allegedly slashed two ticket checkers on a bus in the resort town of Rimini, then injured three others, including one boy, as he was running away.

Investigators rule out terrorism as a motive and speculate that the 26-year-old was under the influence of drugs in the knife attack on Saturday evening, according to reports broadcast by Italian state television channel RAI .

Interior Minister Luciana Lamorgese said she would meet with local security officials in Rimini on Monday to review “the very serious episode”. Lamorgese was attacked by right-wing leader Matteo Salvini, who heads the anti-migrant League party. Salvini demanded that Lamorgese crack down more strongly on illegal migration.

The man, who apparently did not have a bus ticket, slashed at inspectors who had asked to see his ticket, leaving the two women injured, media said. When the bus driver opened the door, the assailant fled. As the police pursued him, the man allegedly slashed three other people in his path. They included a six-year-old boy who was sitting with his mother in a local outdoor market.

The boy was in critical condition Sunday after surgery for his injuries, including his neck.

Police arrested the man after catching up with him on a street adjacent to a hotel.

The man, who has not been identified, had apparently been denied asylum in several European countries, including Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands, since arriving in Europe in 2015, according to the newspaper Corriere della Sera. State television said the man had applied for asylum in Italy and was living in a migrant residence run by a Catholic charity in Rimini.


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