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Suspected serial killer held at airport

A suspect in a string of 20 stabbings that terrorised people across three US states and left five dead has been arrested at an airport as he tried to board a plane for Israel.

A judge in Flint, Michigan, where the attacks began in late May, yesterday signed a warrant charging Elias Abuelazam with assault with intent to murder in connection with a stabbing on 27 July.

He was arrested late on Wednesday at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, where he was trying to board a Delta Air Lines flight to Tel Aviv. The suspect is an Israeli citizen in the US legally, according to police.

Passengers on the flight said as they arrived in Tel Aviv that the suspect was arrested at the boarding gate shortly before take-off. They said his name was called over a loudspeaker, and then six police officers led him away without incident.

Mr Abuelazam has ties to Flint and to Leesburg, Virginia, the site of three similar attacks last week, said Chris Jones, of Leesburg Police.

Police had focused their hunt on Flint – where 16 stabbings took place – until Leesburg police reported three attacks.

Israeli media reported that Mr Abuelazam had recently visited Israel for his sister's wedding, but has been living in the US legally. He had a current Israeli passport when arrested. A former neighbour is quoted as saying that Mr Abuelazam left Israel at the age of 19 or 20 after finishing high school.