A man attacked a Hanukkah celebration at a rabbi's home north of New York City late Saturday, stabbing and wounding at least five people with a large knife or a machete before fleeing in a vehicle, police said.
The attack appeared to be the latest in a string targeting Jews in the region, including a massacre at a kosher grocery store in New Jersey earlier this month.
Although police said the extent of the injuries was unclear, sources told The New York Post that at least one victim was in a critical condition. Between 50 and 100 people were reportedly inside the house when the attack occurred.
According to the report in the Post, the attacker slashed five people inside the rabbi's house and attempted to enter a local temple, but failed to gain access. The rabbi's home is next door to the synagogue.
Police said the stabbings happened at around 10 pm in Monsey, one of several Hudson Valley towns that have seen an influx in large numbers of Hasidic Jews in recent years.
Ramapo Police Chief Brad Weidel said hours later that New York City police had located the vehicle and apprehended a possible suspect being sought in connection with the stabbing.
Photos and videos posted on Twitter show a large emergency response with paramedics running and pushing stretchers. A number of police and emergency vehicles can be seen in the images.
Top state officials, including Governor Andrew Cuomo and Attorney General Leticia James, released statements condemning the attack. New York City Police wouldn't immediately confirm whether anyone was in custody.
The Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council for the Hudson Valley region tweeted that reports of at least five people were stabbed just before 10 pm at the house of a Hasidic rabbi while they were celebrating Hanukkah.
Saturday was the seventh night of Hanukkah.
Aron Kohn, 65, told The New York Times that he was inside the house when the stabbings occurred. "I was praying for my life," said Kohn, 65. "He started attacking people right away as soon as he came in the door. We didn't have time to react at all."
Cuomo, who called the stabbings a "cowardly act" has directed the State Police hate crimes task force to investigate the attacks. "Let me be clear: anti-Semitism and bigotry of any kind are repugnant to our values of inclusion and diversity and we have absolutely zero tolerance for such acts of hate," he said in Saturday's statement. "In New York we will always stand up and say with one voice to anyone who wishes to divide and spread fear: you do not represent New York and your actions will not go unpunished."
Jewish communities in the New York City metro area have been troubled following a deadly Dec. 10 shooting rampage at a northern New Jersey kosher market. Six people died in the shooting, including the two killers, a police officer and three people who had been inside the store. New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the attack was driven by hatred of Jews and law enforcement.
In November, a man was stabbed while walking to a Monsey synagogue. The man required surgery. It's unknown if the person suspected in that stabbing has been arrested.
Around New York City, police have gotten at least six reports this week - and eight since Dec. 13 - of attacks possibly propelled by anti-Jewish bias.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday that police presence would increase in Brooklyn neighborhoods with large Jewish populations.