A man wounded at least four children and an adult with a knife on Thursday in a park in the city of Annecy, in the French Alps, in the east of the country. Two of the children and the adult are in critical condition, according to sources cited by Agence France Presse. The forces of order have arrested a few minutes after the events the aggressor, a Syrian refugee of 32 years and without police record
Plusieurs personnes dont des enfants ont été blessés par un individu armé d'un couteau dans un square à Annecy. L'individu a été interpellé grâce à l'intervention très rapide des forces de l'ordre.
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) June 8, 2023
The attack took place around 9.45 a.m. in the Gardens of Europe, next to Lake Annecy, a postcard scenario, as described in an interview with France Info radio station by local senator Loïc Hervé. Annecy, with 125,000 inhabitants, is the capital of the department or province of Haute-Savoie.
The assailant, armed with a knife, entered the park screaming and approached a group of an adult and six children who were in the play area, according to a testimony cited by France Info. The children were about three years old or younger. Another witness said the man had been spending the day in the park for weeks. "Every morning he was there, he said good morning," said the woman, identified as Cristina. The man is being questioned on suspicion of attempted murder. The Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office has not yet considered it necessary to assume the investigation.
The perpetrator of the attack in Annecy, in the French Alps.
According to information leaked in the French media, the attacker had moved to France at the end of 2022 from Sweden, where he lived for the last decade. In the Nordic country he achieved refugee status. The same media indicate that in his asylum request he declared himself a Christian from Syria and that, at the time of the attack, he was carrying a cross and a prayer book.
In a video that has circulated on social media, the assailant with a knife in his hand is seen randomly attacking children or babies in their strollers and the women who cared for them. Then he leaves, first walking and then, when he sees that some passers-by are chasing him, he quickens his pace.
The President of the Republic, Emmanuel Macron, has written on the social network Twitter: "Attack of absolute cowardice this morning in a park in Annecy. Several children and one adult are between life and death. The nation is shocked. Our thoughts are with them, as well as their families and the relief teams mobilized." Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has travelled to Annecy with Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin.
The first news of the attack coincided with a tense debate in the National Assembly in Paris on pension reform. The President of the Chamber, Yaël Braun-Pivet, interrupted the session to observe a minute's silence. The groups consider suspending the discussions for the rest of the day.
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