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American Ambassador Attacked In South Korea

The United States ambassador to South Korea was attacked on the streets of Seoul, Thursday morning Korean time.

Appearing on CNN, State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said Mark Lippert is now in the hospital and officials have yet to determine a motive.

"We will do a full investigation," Harf said, adding that the "injuries are not life threatening."

Images on Korean television showed Lippert walking away from the scene holding his right hand over his right cheek and blood splattered over his other hand and face. The video shows Lippert leaving a building and walking into a police car.

Lippert took over the Seoul post in October of last year. According to his official bio, he served as a senior official in the Department of Defense until September of 2014.

In a statement, the State Department said Lippert was attacked while giving a speech.

"We strongly condemn this act of violence," State said.

Quoting a senior administration official, CBS News' Mark Knoller reports that Lippert's injuries are "superficial" and that the attacker "used some sort of blade."

The White House said President Obama called Lippert to tell him that he and his wife Robyn are in "his thoughts and prayers."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.