During a day where people from around the world join long lines to begin their Christmas shopping, a string of attacks in shopping centers and London's famous London Bridge have raised the specter of terrorism and a possible retaliation for the killing of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The string of attacks occurred almost one month to the day after Baghdadi's murder at the hands of US special forces and one trained military dog.
The latest, a stabbing attack in the Hague (notoriously the home of the ICC and several other NGOs), has left several people injured (the exact number is unclear) wounded. First-responders arrived at the scene within minutes, a sign that hopefully, casualties will be minimal.
The attack in the Hague unfurled Friday evening in the Dutch city's main shopping street, Grote Marktstraat, which was packed with Black Friday shoppers.
Authorities in the Hague are claiming that the attacks are not "terror related", or at least don't appear so at this time, with the caveat that criminal probes of this magnitude often take time and it could take weeks to uncover the truth.
While this was the second stabbing attack in Europe in a matter of hours, another incident unfolded in the Brazilian city of Rio, as a man armed with a knife held six people hostage at a bar in Central Rio, as a local police Captain confirmed.
LAPA | RUA DO RESENDE segue fechada (ocorrência policial). Reflexos na Av. Mem de Sá. Av. República do Paraguai, Rua Texeira de Freitas e Rua do Riachuelo.— Centro de Operações Rio (@OperacoesRio) November 29, 2019
Evite a região da Lapa e opte pela Av. Pres. Vargas, Rua Visconde do Rio Branco ou T. Sta Bárbara. #centro pic.twitter.com/z0iKJqYvZW
At 3:34 pm, the first hostage, identified only as Sergio, was released. Another hostage, a woman named Lucia, reportedly the owner of the bar, was released shortly after.
Back in the Hague, a manhunt continues for the attackers, with officers reportedly looking for the suspect, who was seen wearing a grey track suit and is believed to be between the ages of 45-50, and was described as appearing to be of "North African descent."