Arsenal footballers Sead Kolasinac and Mesut Ozil fought off knife-wielding car-jackers in a terrifying ordeal in London captured on video circulated on social media.
In the footage, the Premier League club’s Bosnian defender Kolasinac is seen leaping from the vehicle to confront the masked aggressors, who had pulled up alongside the car on mopeds in the city’s leafy Golders Green district on Thursday.
Both attackers appeared to brandish knives at the 26-year-old Kolasinac.
The Daily Mail reported that the incident happened close to a Turkish restaurant.
“Ozil looked absolutely terrified, as anybody would after being chased by men with knives,” financial worker Azuka Alintah, 36, told MailOnline.
“He looked like he was running for his life. And I suppose he was. I saw him disappear into the restaurant with the motorcycle guys on his tail,” he said.
“They didn’t take off their helmets and were all in black, wearing long sleeved tops in this hot weather. They stood out,” he added.
Yasmin Tahsiner, the joint owner of the restaurant, told Sky News that the two footballers are regular customers and were pursued by the robbers for “10 or 15 minutes”.
The Daily Mail said that after fending off their assailants the players then chased the robbers “for more than a mile”.
“We have been in contact with both players and they are fine,” said a spokesman for Arsenal.
Police confirmed that they had responded to reports of an attempted robbery.
– Rise in knife crime –
“It was reported that suspects on motorbikes had attempted to rob a man who was driving a car,” a spokesman for London’s Metropolitan Police told AFP.
“The driver, along with his passenger, managed to get away unharmed and travelled to a restaurant in Golders Green, where they were spoken to by officers.
“There have been no arrests. Enquiries continue.”
Some media reported that Amine Gulse, Ozil’s wife, was also in the car.
Kolasinac and German midfielder Ozil are not the first footballers to be targeted on London’s streets.
In 2016, Andy Carroll, a former West Ham player, was threatened at gunpoint on his way home from training.
There has been a sharp increase in knife crime in Britain in recent years, particularly in the capital.
Over 5,500 people were injured or killed by knife crime in London in the 12 months to October 2018 — a record level.
Newly-installed Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to recruit 20,000 extra police officers across Britain.
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