A 12-year-old boy was stabbed while he played on a bouncy castle at his sister's eighth birthday party in front of a group of terrified children.
The youngster was chased on the inflatable by a knifeman who rained punches and kicks on him before knifing him three times in his leg.
The shocking attack happened in the middle of the afternoon today in Bootle, Liverpool, as children celebrated a birthday party.
Two men, believed to be aged between 18-21, are said to have ambushed the gathering, on Southport Road, storming up the front path and into the back garden, the Liverpool Echo reports.
They chased the frightened boy and cornered him on the bouncy castle, attacking him as he cowered on the floor and then plunging the blade repeatedly into his leg.
Witnesses said the two attackers then calmly walked away, without running, down Southport Road.
The boy was rushed to hospital and will need surgery, his family said. The child is expected to remain in the hospital for a few nights.
His grandmother said: "It was terrible. They came straight in the back garden and went for him, punching and kicking him and then stabbed him three times.
"There was a lot of blood so we just tried to keep pressure on the wound until the ambulance came.
"There were around 14 children in the garden and we got them inside as quickly as we could."
The family said the boy and his friend had nipped to the corner shop and were returning to the party when an argument broke out with an older man.
Moments after that dispute, two men, said to be in their late teens or early 20s, came to the party, immediately heading for the back garden where the shocking violence erupted.
Today, birthday inscriptions on the front wall could be seen at the Southport House and in the front yard, hours after a large police presence had left the scene.
The family said the friend of the 12-year-old, who was with him at the shop and witnessed the attack, was shaken afterwards.
One relative said: "He was white as a sheet afterwards when police were talking to him, and could hardly speak."
He added: "This all happened in front of the boy's mum, we can't believe this has happened, at a girl's eighth birthday party."
Police said earlier today the boy's condition is not believed to be life-threatening.
A hunt is underway to find the attackers but it is believed, so far, no arrests have been made.
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A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: "We can confirm an investigation is underway following reports of a stabbing in Bootle this afternoon, Wednesday, April 7.
"At around 2.25pm, officers were called to an address in Southport Road following reports a 12-year-old boy had been assaulted.
"Emergency services attended and the victim has been taken to hospital for treatment to a stab wound to his leg, which is not believed to be life-threatening at this stage.
"It is believed the offender made off from the scene and enquiries are ongoing to locate him.
"A scene is in place and officers remain in the area to speak to witnesses and carry out forensic and CCTV enquiries."
Anyone with information is asked to contact @MerPolCC, 101 quoting ref. 21000220899 or Crimestoppers, anonymously on 0800 555 111.
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