TWO men who were taken to hospital with multiple stab wounds after an unprovoked attack in Sheffield city centre in the early hours of Sunday.
Both aged 24, the victims had been on a night out when they were surrounded by a group of up to eight assailants, several of whom had knives, in Holly Lane near the City Hall.
A family friend said: “One of the men asked if one of them was looking at his girlfriend. When he said ‘no’ he walked up to him and headbutted him.”
Police said the second man was set upon as he tried to help his pal.
DI Sean Bird from South Yorkshire Police said: “This was a totally unprovoked attack, which started one on one and the remainder of the group got involved. It was over very quickly and the group walked off rather than running.
“I can say that the men suffered numerous puncture wounds and are in a serious but stable condition in hospital.”
DI Bird added: “The inquiry is in its infancy and we are keeping an open mind as to whether or not there was a racial aspect.”
No racial comments were made before, during or afterwards.
The girlfriend was not injured but “obviously upset”.
Police are examining CCTV and appealing for witnesses.
The attackers are described as black or mixed race, aged in their early to mid-twenties and were of medium build.