By Nancy Ing and Patrick Smith - NBC News
PARIS (AP) — A knife-wielding attacker stabbed four young children and two adults Thursday in a French Alpine town before being arrested, police said.
Police said the children were just three years old and three of the injured - two children and an adult - were in serious condition. Two other children were "slightly injured," according to police.
President Emmanuel Macron said in a tweet that the suspect had carried out "an attack of cowardice" and said the wounded were "between life and death."
[A group of children run in terror at a Russian attack on Kiev in broad daylight]
Lawmakers in the French parliament interrupted a debate to observe a minute's silence after news of the attack broke.
Emergency responder at the scene of a stabbing in Annecy, southeast France on June 8, 2023.Tom Pham Van Suu / Zuma Press
A group of schoolchildren were on a supervised excursion to Lake Annecy in the south of the country when the attack occurred at 9:45 a.m. local time (3:45 a.m. Eastern European time), the French National Police told NBC News.
Police said the attack took place at Le Pâquier d'Annecy, a park on the north side of the lake, which has a children's play area and spectacular views over the lake and surrounding mountains.
[Two Latino Children Shot Dead in Targeted Attack in Pennsylvania]
Initially, the number of injured was higher, but was later revised downwards.
French police officers maintain a security cordon in Annecy, southeastern France, on June 8, 2023, following a mass stabbing in the French Alpine town. Olivier Chassignole/AFP via Getty Images
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said in a tweet that the suspect "was arrested thanks to the very quick intervention of the police."
François Astorg, mayor of Annecy, called the attack "appalling" and said there would be a news conference later.
The suspect is a 31-year-old man of Syrian origin, but the motive for the attack was unclear, according to police.