A man motivated by personal grievances killed a woman and injured 12 others in a knife attack in Beijing Sunday, police said.

The rampage unfolded at a busy shopping mall in the heart of the Chinese capital before officers quickly subdued the attacker, according to the authorities.

Three men and 10 women were injured, but one victim later died. None of the remaining victims are suffering from life-threatening injuries, police added.

Violent incidents are extremely rare in Beijing, which is tightly policed, particularly in the run-up to the Chinese New Year holiday that starts this year on Friday.

“After a preliminary investigation the suspect named Zhu, 35, from Xihua County in Henan Province, confessed to injuring people in order to satisfy personal grievances,” police said.

A witness dining at a nearby restaurant told state news agency Xinhua she saw a man suddenly take a knife out of his bag and start attacking people at random, while the agency reported that another witness saw a victim injured in the neck.

The lunchtime assault happened in the Xidan district just a few hundred metres from Zhongnanhai, the heavily-guarded headquarters of the Communist Party and the Chinese government.

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