France stabbing: Knifeman attacks children at Annecy playground
Four small children were stabbed in a park near Lake Annecy in the south-east of France.
According to Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, police overpowered and detained the attacker.
The youngsters were all three or younger, and the majority were in critical condition, according to authorities.
One of the injured children was British, according to UK Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. According to the local authorities, the three-year-old daughter is currently stable.
One of the other kids is from the Netherlands. According to the administration, an adult was also harmed and is very ill.
The suspect, a 31-year-old Syrian with refugee status in Sweden, has been identified by police.
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Regional deputy Antoine Armand called the attack “abominable” and said officials were investigating but had “very little” information.
The video footage of the incident, which was too gruesome for transmission, shows a small playground where life goes on as usual. Children are running around, with their parents and caregivers nearby.
Then a man with a knife walks in, and there are cries. He’s plainly seeking for kids to assault, and he goes at one in a pushchair.
In one section of the film, life goes on as usual, while in another, a man wanders around with a knife. As you can see, he is aggressively seeking children.
Mr Darmanin and French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne traveled to the scene of the incident.
Ms Borne stated at a press conference that four children and two adults were hurt, with some of them in critical condition.
She stated that the perpetrator has “no criminal or psychiatric record” and has a child “roughly the same age as those he attacked.”
Annecy prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis told reporters that the children ranged in age from 22 months to three years, and that they were in a “severe state.”
She went on to say that one of the adults was gravely hurt and the other was only slightly hurt.
She stated that there “doesn’t appear to be any kind of terrorist motivation.”
“Their health is extremely fragile; they are still in absolute emergency,” the prosecutor stated, adding that an attempted murder inquiry is ongoing.
According to police, the suspect is a refugee in Sweden who recently arrived in France, leaving behind a wife and three-year-old daughter. In a failed asylum application for refugee status in France last year, he claimed to be a Syrian Christian.
The attacker invoked the name of Jesus Christ during the encounter.
His ex-wife revealed to BFM TV that her former lover was a Christian.
“He hasn’t called me in four months.” “[Our relationship] ended because we lived in Sweden and he did not want to live in Sweden anymore,” she explained, adding that he had never been aggressive.
In recent years, France has become accustomed to knife assaults, which are frequently carried out by lone young men with a history of petty criminality and an Islamist affiliation. This attack is clearly of a different character.
So far, most politicians have been careful not to jump to conclusions, but the incident will undoubtedly feed into the immigration issue.
The culprit is claimed to have attacked the youngsters, some of whom were in pushchairs, as they walked through the park before fleeing and stabbing an elderly man nearby.
When the police arrived, the criminal was shot in the legs.
The National Assembly of France has observed a minute of silence, and roads around the attack site have been closed.
President Emmanuel Macron expressed his “shock” at the “act of cowardice” on Twitter.
“All our thoughts are with those affected by this unfathomable attack, including a British child – and with their families,” UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said while visiting the US.
“I’ve spoken with President Macron, and we stand ready to provide any assistance we can.”
Mr. Cleverly stated that British consular personnel were in the area “to support the family” of the injured child.
“We stand in strong solidarity with the people of France during this terrible time,” he said at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) meeting in Paris.
Anthony le Tallec, a former Liverpool footballer, was on the run in town at the time of the attack. He said he heard people yelling “Run! Run!” and saw cops follow down the suspected perpetrator after he attacked an elderly man.
He continued his run along the lake, when he observed the injured youngsters on the ground, he added.
“It’s crazy to have this in Annecy,” he commented.
He also said that there was a pause before the officers shot the man with the knife.
Eleanor Vincent, another woman, told the BBC that she “knew something horrible had happened” as she approached the lake.
“People were going about their business or on vacation, just like me, and it’s just shocking.” There is no other way to put it.”