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Salman Rushdie is on a ventilator after being stabbed.

After being repeatedly stabbed at a literary event in New York state on Friday, British novelist Salman Rushdie, whose novels have made him the target of Iranian death threats, was on a ventilator and may lose an eye.

Rushdie was evacuated to the hospital after the incident just before 11:00 a.m. local time, where he required emergency surgery, and his representative claimed in a statement received by The New York Times that “the news is not good.”

“Salman will most likely lose one eye; nerves in his arm were cut; and his liver was stabbed and damaged,” claimed agent Andrew Wylie, adding that Rushdie is currently unable to talk.

Hadi Matar, 24, of Fairfield, New Jersey, was named as the suspect in Friday’s attack by New York state police. A possible motivation remained unknown.

Rushdie was stabbed in the neck and abdomen, according to police. A crowd rushed to the stage and threw the suspect to the ground before a trooper on the scene captured him.

Until emergency first responders arrived, a doctor in the audience provided medical care. According to authorities, an interviewer onstage, 73-year-old Ralph Henry Reese, received a facial injury but was released from the hospital.

The attack took place at the Chautauqua Institution, which offers cultural programmes in a peaceful lakeside village 70 miles (110 kilometres) south of Buffalo.

“There were cries of shock and panic from the audience,” stated the lecturer.Witnessing the tragedy had left LeVan “shaken,” he added, adding that Chautauqua was a safe haven for artistic expression.

According to another witness, John Stein, the assailant “started stabbing on the right side of the head, of the neck.” And there was blood… gushing out.