Attacks in NYC Using Fire, Cleaver

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NEW YORK, NY - Surveillance footage released Friday shows multiple people being sought in connection to attacks on four different women in the midtown area, including a Muslim woman whose blouse was set on fire, according to police.

Two teens were taken into custody Thursday, and an additional male and three females are being sought. The teens were described as persons of interest in four Saturday night instances in which someone allegedly put flames near the victims' bodies.

While three of the women did not catch fire, the blouse of a 35-year-old dressed in traditional Muslim garb was set ablaze on Fifth Avenue, police said. She managed to pat out the flames, according to police.

Meanwhile, a man wielding a meat cleaver was shot by police after attacking officers near Penn Station Thursday during rush hour, police said. The attack happened just before 5 p.m. in the area of West 32nd Street, between Sixth and Seventh avenues in midtown.

Police said two uniformed officers responded to a report of a man removing a boot from a vehicle that he was apparently living in. They encountered Akram Joudeh, 32, who pulled out an 11-inch meat cleaver from his waistband then ran away, police said.
The officers chased after Joudeh, with one of them deploying a stun gun that appeared to have no effect on the suspect. As the suspect reached Seventh Avenue, an off-duty detective in civilian clothes on his way home trying to take down Joudeh. The detective was struck in the head by the meat cleaver and suffered a gash from his temple to jaw, authorities said.

Uniformed officers then fired about 18 rounds at the suspect, hitting him several times. The detective and suspect were rushed to a hospital where the detective is listed in serious condition and the suspect in critical but stable condition.

Two other officers suffered non-life threatening injuries during the encounter.