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A British tourist is reportedly fighting for his life after being stabbed in the head by a robber in San Francisco.

The 44-year-old was walking with his niece when he was attacked by a man and a woman at around 8.30pm on Friday.

He is said to have been stabbed in the head as he struggled to keep the male attacker from taking his bag which contained his passport, money and mobile phone, local news site SFGate reported.

The tourist was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where he was treated for life-threatening injuries.

Police are hunting the man – described as black, muscular and about 5ft 10ins tall, and the woman was also black and had dreadlocks or braids in a ponytail. She was said to be about 5ft 4ins.

SFGate reported that Friday’s attack was the latest in a spate of street robberies in which tourists have been targeted.

Three French tourists were robbed in Twin Peaks in December and a tourist from Thailand was injured after being shot in Lombard Street by muggers in August.

However, police spokesman Carlos Manfredi said tourists were not likely to have been specifically targeted.

“It happens to everybody, so every now and then there’s going to be a tourist in the mix,” he said.

A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said: “We are in contact with the family of a British national who is in hospital in San Francisco, and will continue to offer support at this difficult time.”