All 4 youngsters — a 22-month-old, two 2-year-olds and a 3-year-old — have been in important situation after the assault, French public prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis stated in a information convention Thursday. One little one was a visiting British vacationer, one other was Dutch, she stated.
Video circulated on-line that The Washington Put up verified was taken on the playground in Annecy confirmed a person with a shawl wrapped round his head brandishing a knife. “Jesus Christ!” screams a voice off digicam. A person swings a backpack on the man, who then enters an space with climbing frames and synthetic grass. He’s seen approaching a screaming girl with a stroller earlier than showing to assault the kid inside. One other video confirmed a person chasing the attacker away.
The suspect, who was arrested on the scene, is a 32-year-old Syrian nationwide who had submitted a proper request for asylum in France that was underneath evaluate on the time of the assault, police stated. The person, whom police recognized solely by his first identify, Abdalmasih, additionally had a Swedish driver’s license, police stated. Based on the French prosecutor, the person has had refugee standing in Sweden for the previous 10 years.
Preliminary info suggests that there’s “no obvious terrorist motive,” although anti-terrorism authorities are investigating, stated Bonnet-Mathis.
One of many grownup victims was injured by the attacker however much less severely; the opposite grownup sufferer was injured each within the knife assault and when police shot on the attacker, the prosecutor stated.
“We’re in shut contact with the French police authorities,” stated Sofia Hellqvist, a spokeswoman for Swedish police.
“The Nation is in shock,” tweeted French President Emmanuel Macron. “Kids and an grownup are between life and dying. Our ideas are with them in addition to their households and the emergency companies mobilized.”
French lawmakers noticed a minute of silence contained in the Nationwide Meeting for the victims of the assault and their households.
Anthony Le Tallec, a former French soccer participant, stated in a collection of Instagram movies early Thursday that he was jogging close to Lake Annecy when he noticed individuals working and shouting at others to do the identical. One girl shouted at him to run as a result of somebody was “stabbing everybody,” together with youngsters, he stated.
Le Tallec stated he noticed the suspect coming in his course whereas cops chased him. The suspect ran towards an older couple, Le Tallec stated, and stabbed an older man.
Le Tallec stated he later noticed “youngsters on the bottom.”
“A person dedicated an assault this morning within the Pâquier sector in Annecy, inflicting 6 victims, together with 4 youngsters,” who all obtained medical therapy, said authorities within the Haute-Savoie Division, the place Annecy is situated. “The emergency companies and the safety forces intervened in a short time.”
The assault got here as France is underneath a territory-wide alert for terrorism. Prior to now decade, the nation has been hit by a number of high-profile terrorist assaults deliberate by people with hyperlinks to Islamist teams. The suspect’s identify, Abdalmasih, is a standard one amongst Center Jap Christians.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne stated that now shouldn’t be the time for debates about migration, and he or she known as for a second of “unity” and “solidarity” with the victims and their households.
Charlotte Caubel, France’s minister of state for kids, said the assault was an indication of “the rise in violence in our society.”
“As soon as once more, our youngsters are the goal,” she tweeted.
Round 10 a.m. native time, a Twitter account for the prefect of the Haute-Savoie division stated a police operation was underway within the Jardin de l’Europe, a park on the northwestern financial institution of Annecy Lake, and the close by Pâquier space. It requested residents to keep away from the world.
Borne will journey to Annecy on Thursday, said Nationwide Meeting president Yaël Braun-Pivet.
“Abominable knife assault on youngsters in a playground in Annecy,” tweeted Antoine Armand, a member of Parliament from Haute-Savoie. “We nonetheless know little or no however all my help for the victims, kinfolk, legislation enforcement and rescue. With you in ideas.”
Vanessa Schlesier in Berlin and Beatriz Rios contributed to this report.