Knifeman stabbed two journalists over 'Donald Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital'

Alexandra Richards
Police officers patrol on December 17, 2017 in Libreville, following the knife attack on two Danish nationals: AFP/Getty

A knifeman has claimed he stabbed two Danish journalists in Gabon's capital Libreville in retaliation for US "attacks on Muslims" and its recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The attack occurred on Saturday while the journalists were shopping at an artisan market, a site popular with tourists.

The stabbings were carried out by a 53-year-old Niger national who screamed "Allah Akbar," Gabon's defence minister Massard Makaga said. The attacker, who has lived in Gabon for 19 years, was immediately arrested.

When questioned by the police, he said he acted "in retaliation for the attacks of the United States against the Muslims and the American recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Mr Makaga said.

One of the journalists has been left in serious condition according to Mr Makaga.

It is believed to be the first attack of its kind in the West African country where Muslims and Christians coexist peacefully.

"Everything will be done to ensure that the author and his possible accomplices are punished with the utmost rigour that the law allows," said the minister who denounced the act as "abominable, cowardly and ignoble." Mr Makaga said such acts are contrary to the Gabonese way of living together and "detrimental to social peace."

The journalists, a man and a woman who reportedly work for National Geographic, were rushed to a hospital.

The man was operated on and is currently in intensive care, said government spokesman Alain Claude Bilie By Nze.

Oil-rich Gabon is known for its wildlife, including most of Africa's remaining forest elephants, which are being heavily targeted by traffickers.

Gabon is ruled by President Ali Bongo Ondimba, whose family has been in power for nearly half a century.

US President Trump declared earlier this month that Jerusalem was Israel’s capital and promised to relocate the US embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.

The decision was widely condemned by leading world figures and sparked mass protest amongst Palestinians who claimed that the US decision jeopardised the hope of finding peace between the Israelis and the Palestinians.