Police were probing claims that a gang feud lies at the heart of a Wigan street brawl which left two men fighting for their lives.
Both had suffered deep stab wounds in the melee in Gas Street and Templeton Road, Platt Bridge, on Thursday evening.
They were taken to hospital where their conditions are said to be critical.
One local, who declined to be named, told the Wigan Evening Post that the confrontation was between men of Asian and eastern European appearance and suggested that it was the latest chapter in an on-going feud.
Police, who have yet to confirm or deny any gang connections, descended in force on the area after reports came in of the violence at around 7pm.
Six men have since been arrested on suspicion of wounding with intent and perverting the course of justice.
A force spokesman said that the fight had broken up and protagonists had dispersed by the time the emergency services arrived.
But three men have since been arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm with intent and another three men have been arrested on suspicion of perverting the course of justice. All six remain in police custody for questioning.
At the scene yesterday whole rows of houses on both Templeton Street and Gas Street were cordoned off by police as investigations continued.
CID evidence numbers could also be seen placed along the road.
One resident who lives nearby but did not wish to be identified, said: “I didn’t really know much until the police turned up, they were everywhere.
“All I know is that there was a huge scrap and that it was pretty savage. I’m sorry to hear about the two men badly hurt though, I hope they’re OK.
“God knows what it was all about but surely it’s not worth all this?”
One passer by who lives on the estate behind Templeton Street, said: “It’s getting ridiculous around here, to the point where I don’t feel safe anymore.
“I’ve never had trouble personally but the amount of anti-social behaviour that goes on is awful. It was only a matter of time before something like this happened.”
A Wigan Police spokesman said that inquiries into the incident are ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 101, or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.