Two women are in hospital after they were stabbed in a “random and unprovoked attack” near a hotel.
A man who came to their aid was stabbed and also needed hospital treatment following the incident which happened near the Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel in the Grassmarket at about 3.35am on Thursday.
Police are treating the attack on the 60-year-old woman as attempted murder and those on the other woman and man as serious assaults.
The two women were standing at the vennel – a narrow lane – next to the hotel when a man came up and spoke to them before walking off towards Lothian Road.
He soon returned and attacked the victims, leaving the 60-year-old woman with a number of injuries to her body and the other woman, aged 58, with a serious injury to her face and mouth.
A 37-year-old man who came to help the women suffered a laceration to his hand during a struggle with the suspect, who then made off from the area.
All three victims were taken to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.
Both women remain in hospital but their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
Detective Inspector Grant Johnston, from Gayfield CID, said: “This appears to be an entirely random and unprovoked attack, which has left three people with some very serious injuries.
“As part of this investigation we are reviewing CCTV in the Grassmarket and are keen to hear from any members of the public who were in the area at the time and witnessed what happened, or who can help us trace the suspect.
“In addition, should you have any other information relevant to this inquiry, then please also contact police immediately.”
The suspect is described as white, about 5ft 10ins, of average build and with dark eyebrows.
He was wearing a black beanie hat, dark jacket, black gloves, blue jeans and Nike trainers with a blue tick and white sole.
An Apex Hotels spokesman said: “An incident took place outside Apex City of Edinburgh Hotel in the early hours of this morning.
“We are co-operating fully with the police who are investigating.”