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Ex-British intelligence worker admits attempted murder of U.S. NSA employee

LONDON (Reuters) -A former British intelligence worker has pleaded guilty in a London court to the attempted murder of a U.S. National Security Agency employee, police and the Crown Prosecution Service said on Wednesday.

Joshua Bowles, 29, stabbed the unnamed woman, who was working at British intelligence agency GCHQ at the time, multiple times during the attack in March near GCHQ's base at Cheltenham in western England.

Bowles had previously worked at GCHQ but was no longer working there when the attack occurred, Counter Terrorism Policing South East (CTPSE) said in a statement, adding that the woman's work there was cited by Bowles as a motive.

He also pleaded guilty to assaulting a man who tried to stop the attack, which took place outside a leisure centre.

"This was a violent and unprovoked attack on two innocent victims," Detective Chief Superintendent Olly Wright, head of CTPSE, said in a statement.

"Through our extensive and thorough investigation, it is clear that Bowles had selected his victim because of where she worked," Wright added.

Prosecutor Emma Gargitter told London's Old Bailey on Wednesday that Bowles also researched two other U.S. government employees and should be sentenced as someone convicted of a terrorist offence, the BBC reported.

Bowles, who lived in Cheltenham, pleaded guilty to one count of attempted murder and one of assault. He will be sentenced at a later date.

(Reporting by Sam Tobin; Editing by David Holmes)