Author Salman Rushdie was stabbed 10 to 15 times during Friday’s attack in New York, eyewitnesses said.
"This guy ran on to platform and started pounding on Mr. Rushdie," said Rabbi Charles Savenor, who was in the audience for the lecture at Chautauqua Institution.
"At first you're like, ‘What's going on?' And then it became abundantly clear in a few seconds that he was being beaten," Savenor told The Associated Press, adding the attack lasted about 20 seconds.
An AP at the scene said the attacker "punched or stabbed Mr. Rushdie 10 to 15 times".
Rushdie fell to the floor immediately, as the attacker was restrained.
New York State Governor Kathy Hochul later said he is alive and "getting the care he needs". Police said the attacker is in custody but did not provide further details.
Rushdie’s condition was not immediately known. His agent, Andrew Wylie, said the writer was undergoing surgery, but he had no other details.
Rushdie since 1989 has been the target of an Iranian fatwa calling for his murder for allegedly blaspheming Islam and its prophet Mohammed in his book "The Satanic Verses."
In 2012, an Iranian foundation added another $500,000 to the reward for killing Rushdie, raising the total bounty for his death to $3.3 million.
Rushdie spent a decade in hiding after Iran's spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, issued the 1989 fatwa against him for his book.
Although Iran's foreign ministry in 1998 assured Britain that Iran would do nothing to implement the fatwa, current supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in January 2005 reaffirmed that Rushdie was considered an apostate whose murder was authorized under Islam.
In 2019, Twitter temporarily banned an account connected to Khamenei after it posted a message threatening Rushdie.
(Israel National News' North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Israel National News articles, however, is Israeli time.)