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Satanic Verses author Salman Rushdie is stabbed in the neck at a New York lecture

NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) – Salman Rushdie, the Indian-born novelist who spent years in hiding after Iran urged Muslims to kill him because of his writing, was stabbed in the neck and torso onstage at a lecture in New York state on Friday and airlifted to a hospital, police said.

He was still in surgery early Friday evening, state police said, following an attack condemned by writers and politicians around the world as an assault on the freedom of expression.

A man rushed to the stage at the Chautauqua Institution and lunged at Rushdie, 75, as he was being introduced to give a talk on artistic freedom to an audience of hundreds, eyewitnesses said.

Stunned attendees helped wrest the man from Rushdie, who had fallen to the floor. A New York State Police trooper providing security at the event arrested the attacker. Police identified the suspect as Hadi Matar, a 24-year-old man from Fairview, New Jersey, who bought a pass to the event.

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