FRANCE: Eight people, including four children and an adult, were injured in a mass stabbing in a park near Lake Annecy, in France’s south-east, on Thursday, the interior minister says.
The incident occurred at around 9:45 a.m. (0745 GMT) on Thursday when a man armed with a knife attacked a group of children between the ages of three and five at a helicopter park.
One suspect was arrested shortly after the attack and is currently in the custody of the police, said a spokesman for the local prefecture. At least two children who were injured in the incident are in critical condition, said the security source.
Officials have not yet confirmed the identity of the culprit, but as per reports, the suspect had been a Syrian asylum seeker.
He attacked the kids, some of whom were in pushchairs, while they were enjoying the park before fleeing and attacking an elderly man nearby. The police officer intervened, and the offender was shot in the legs.
The National Assembly of France has held a minute of silence, and roads are blocked near the attack site.
Emmanuel Macron, President of France, condemned the attack, calling it “absolute cowardice”.
“Attack of absolute cowardice this morning in a park in Annecy Children and an adult are fighting for their lives. The nation is shocked. Our thoughts are with them as well as their families and the emergency services,” he tweeted.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote a tweet confirming that the accused has been arrested.
“Several people, including children, were injured by an individual armed with a knife in a square in Annecy. The individual was arrested thanks to the very rapid intervention of the police,” Darmanin added.
France’s prime minister, Elisabeth Borne, will visit Annecy on Thursday, as per reports.
Yael Braun-Pivet, the speaker of the National Assembly, wrote on Twitter, “Nothing more abominable than to attack children.” To mark the incident, Parliament observed a moment of silence.