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Salman Rushdie is awake and ‘articulate’ after stabbing attack in New York, official says

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(CNN) Award-winning author Salman Rushdie is awake and “articulate” in his conversations with investigators as he remains hospitalized for severe injuries following a stabbing attack in western New York Friday, a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the investigation told CNN Monday.

Rushdie, 75, underwent emergency surgery after a man allegedly stabbed him several times before his scheduled lecture at the Chautauqua Institution, officials have said.

The writer — whose books have garnered him awards — was conscious Monday and able to respond to questions from investigators, according to the law enforcement official.

It’s unclear what Rushdie told investigators following the attack that shook the literary world and prompted immediate condemnation from around the globe.

The suspect in the attack, identified as 24-year-old Hadi Matar, allegedly jumped onto the stage at the Chautauqua Institution, about 70 miles southwest of Buffalo, New York, and lunged toward Rushdie, repeatedly stabbing him, according to New York State Police. The suspect was held down by audience members and staff who forced him to the ground until he was arrested by a state trooper.

The author suffered three stab wounds to his neck, four stab wounds to his stomach, puncture wounds to his right eye and chest, and a laceration on his right thigh, Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said during Matar’s arraignment over the weekend. Rushdie may lose sight in his right eye, he noted, adding that the attack was targeted and preplanned.

Officials believe Matar, who lived in Fairview, New Jersey, traveled to Buffalo via bus and used a ridesharing app to reach Chautauqua the day before the attack, according to the law enforcement official who spoke to CNN.

Investigators do not know where Matar spent the night and they are working with the institution to comb through surveillance footage to determine whether he was near the area during overnight hours, the official added.

Upon his arrest, Matar had a fake driver’s license, some cash, two Visa prepaid gift cards and no wallet, the official told CNN. Matar refused to answer questions from authorities when he was taken into custody and asked for an attorney, the law enforcement official said.

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