Police said the stabbing victim did not sustain life-threatening injuries and were investigating the discovery of a women's body in a nearby apartment that appeared to have stabbing wounds.

Police officers investigate a scene following reports of a stabbing in Sydney, Australia, August 13, 2019.
Police officers investigate a scene following reports of a stabbing in Sydney, Australia, August 13, 2019. (Reuters)

A man stabbed a woman and attempted to stab several other people in central Sydney Tuesday before being pinned down by members of the public and detained by police, eyewitnesses and officials said.

Images broadcast by Australian media showed an agitated man jumping on the roof of a car brandishing a knife, appearing to shout "shoot me", and the Arabic phrase for "God is great".

Police said the wounded woman was stable and there were no immediate reports of other injuries, despite "a number of attempted stabbings by the same offender".

A police spokeswoman said they had discovered a body near the scene of a knife rampage in central Sydney, but were still determining whether it was linked to the attack.

The body was discovered in the central business district where the woman was earlier stabbed.

A large kitchen knife

Eyewitness Megan Hayley told AFP she saw a man in his 20s or 30s brandishing a large kitchen knife and chasing several people though the busy central business district shortly after lunchtime.

"Five or six others were chasing him behind, trying to stop him, they caught him and restrained him" in front of two popular cafes in the heart of the city, she said.

Edward Wong, 24, who also witnessed the attack, said the man "looked like he had blood on his chin and chest".

Police hailed the bravery of onlookers who stepped in and pinned the man down with chairs and a plastic crate.

"To approach a person... with clear evidence of a stabbing previously, these people are heroes," police spokesman superintendent Gavin Wood said.

Police said they had received reports of the man's remarks, but had not yet determined a motive.

"It would appear at this stage it is unprovoked but we are keeping a very open mind as we move forward," the spokesman said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies