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Brazilian nursery attacked by hatchet-wielding assailant, claiming lives of 4 children.

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Four children died after a man wielding a hatchet attacked a kindergarten in southern Brazil on Wednesday, according to authorities.

Police and Santa Catarina state government officials said the 25-year-old attacked the private preschool, known as the Good Shepherd Center, on Wednesday morning in the city of Blumenau, leaving four victims.

President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva condemned the attack as “brutal”.

He wrote on Twitter: “There is no greater pain than a family losing their children or grandchildren, and even more so when they are in an act of violence against innocent and defenseless children.”

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims.”

A government source in the state confirmed to AFP that the four victims were children.

Brazilian media reports said the weapon used resembled a hatchet.

Santa Catarina Governor Jorginho Melo declared three days of mourning in the state for the “terrible” attack.

Violence in schools has increased in Brazil in recent years.

Last week, a 13-year-old boy killed a teacher in a knife attack at a school in São Paulo.

In November, a 16-year-old shooter killed four people and injured more than 10 others in twin attacks on two schools in the southeastern city of Aracruz, in the state of Espírito Santo.

In 2019, two former students shot dead eight people at a high school in Suzano, outside São Paulo, and then also committed suicide.

The country’s deadliest school shooting left 12 children dead in 2011, when a man opened fire at his former elementary school in the Rio de Janeiro suburb of Relengo, then killed himself.

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