Several people have been stabbed at a house close to a synagogue in New York state, reports say.

The house in Monsey, north of New York city, belonged to a rabbi, according to the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council.

At least five people, all Jewish, were taken to hospital with stab wounds, the council said.

The motive for the stabbing was not clear, and it was not immediately clear if the attacker had been apprehended.

Steve Lieberman, a reporter with the Journal News in Rockland county, said police were searching the area.