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MADRID -- A man randomly attacked and beheaded a woman in a supermarket on the Spanish resort island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands on Friday, officials said.

The suspect, believed to be a homeless Bulgarian man with a police record, was detained by security guards after he ran out of the supermarket with the blood-soaked head in his hands.

A witness told broadcaster Cadena Ser that he saw the man drop the woman's head on the pavement after coming out of the store.

"I parked my car and saw a man running out with something bloody in his hands and a security guard chasing him. He threw it to the ground, it almost hit me and what he had been carrying was a woman's head," the unnamed witness said in a radio interview.

Spanish national radio said the woman was believed to be a British citizen.

"We are aware of reports of the death of a British national in Tenerife and are urgently investigating," a British Foreign Office spokesman in London said on customary condition of anonymity.

Regional Interior Ministry delegate Dominica Fernandez said the suspect is believed to have entered the shop, stolen a knife which he then used to assault and behead the woman, whose identity hasn't been released.

Fernandez told journalists the attack appeared to be random and that the man was well known in the area.

The events took place shortly after 10 a.m. (0900 GMT, 5 a.m. EDT) in the southern town of Arona, about 10 miles (15 kilometers north of the beach resort of Los Cristianos.

Sylvia Hui in London contributed to this report.

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