Police in Belfast are appealing for witnesses after five women were injured in separate incidents in the city last night.
Three women, aged between 19 and 22, were stabbed by a masked man who used a short blade to attack the victims.
The first stabbing incident occurred at approximately 8.10pm on Ormeau Avenue, the second at 8.45pm on Donegall Square West and the third occurred at approximately 9.30pm on University Road.
The three women were taken to hospital for treatment and their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Two other women have reported being assaulted in the city last night.
A woman says she was punched in the neck on the Lisburn Road near Dunluce Avenue at around 9pm.
Police believe this alleged assault was carried out by the same man.
A fifth woman says she was punched in the head on the Dublin Road at around 8.55pm yesterday evening by a man on a bicycle and police believe this report may be linked to the other four incidents.
Both of these women were also aged between 19 and 22 and were not seriously injured in the incidents.
Chief Superintendent Simon Walls appeals for information after three women stabbed and two further assaulted in south Belfast. Anyone with information should contact Lisburn Road Police on 101 or via https://t.co/YE41BufeVN. pic.twitter.com/GNBuW1AzKt
— Police Service NI (@PoliceServiceNI) October 13, 2020
Speaking today, Chief Superintendent Simon Walls said: “The injuries sustained were minor and not life-threatening however this does not take away from the seriousness of these incidents.
"These were frightening random attacks for these young women but thankfully incidents like this are extremely rare.
"I want to reassure the community that officers will be carrying out additional patrols across the city centre and doing everything we can to arrest this man.
"Detectives are currently conducting extensive CCTV enquiries throughout the relevant areas across the city and would appeal to any drivers who were in these areas at these times to review dashcam footage, and for any business owners in the relevant areas to review their CCTV."
He said the man is described as wearing dark clothing, possibly wearing a hooded top, and cycling a mountain bike which may have a light coloured frame and reflectors on the spokes.
Police also believe he may have been wearing a black mask.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police at Lisburn Road, by submitting an online report or contacting Crimestoppers anonymously.