London police
London policeiStock

British police on Tuesday said three suspects believed to be involved in the stabbing of a journalist working for Iran International in London last week left the country within hours of the attack, Reuters reported.

"Detectives have established the victim was approached by two men in a residential street and attacked. The suspects fled the scene in a vehicle driven by a third male," London's Metropolitan Police (the Met) said in a statement.

The victim in his 30s sustained an injury to his leg in the attack in Wimbledon, southwest London, on Friday afternoon. Police said he has since been discharged from hospital.

Police said that after abandoning the vehicle, the suspects travelled directly to Heathrow Airport and left the United Kingdom a few hours after the attack.

The victim has been identified by Britain's National Union of Journalists as British-based Iranian journalist Pouria Zeraati, who hosts a show on the Persian language television Iran International, which is affiliated with the Iranian opposition and is known to have ties to the Saudi Arabian royal family.

Police said it remained unclear why the victim was attacked and officers are "keeping an open mind as to any motivation behind this", according to Reuters.

Nearly 18 months ago, Iran International became one of the main providers of news during the wave of anti-government protests in Iran. Those protests broke out after the death of Mahsa Amini, who died while in police custody after being arrested for violating the country’s strict dress code for women.

In November 2022, two British-Iranian journalists from the channel were warned by police of a possible risk to their lives.

An armed police presence was stationed near the channel's studios, and concrete barriers were placed outside the building.

Last February, Iran International said it had moved its broadcasts to Washington “to protect the safety of its journalists” after being targeted by Tehran. Operations resumed at a new location in London last September.