Two people were knifed to death and five more wounded in a knife attack in south-east France Saturday in what officials are investigating as a terror attack, New York Post reports.
The attacker entered a tobacconist shop in Romans-sur-Isère, South of Lyon, and stabbed the owners and a customer. He then attacked more people at two other shops before being arrested. The attacker, who has not been identified, was apprehended near the scene of the attack as he was kneeling on the ground and praying in Arabic, according to France’s counter-terrorism prosecutor’s office.
The victims were people who had ventured out of their homes to go shopping for groceries during the countrywide coronavirus lockdown. Two of the wounded are said to be in a critical condition.
He began his brutal spree by slitting the throat of a man who had just left for a walk — in front of the victim’s girlfriend and son. He then made his way to a tobacco shop, where he stabbed the tobacconist and two customers before entering a butcher shop. There, he grabbed another knife and attacked a woman with the blunt end of the weapon as shoppers sought refuge.
The butcher’s shop owner, Ludovic Breyton, said: “He took a knife, jumped over the counter, and stabbed a customer, then ran away. My wife tried to help the victim but in vain.”
The prosecutor’s office said in a statement that initial investigations suggest the attacker had “a determined murderous course aimed at seriously disturbing public order by intimidation or terror,” the BBC reported.
President Emmanuel Macron described the attack as an “odious” incident that further saddened a country already going through an ordeal.
“My thoughts are with the victims of the attack in Romans-sur-Isère as well as the wounded and their families,” Macron tweeted. “All the light will be shed on this odious act…”
Prosecutors said the suspect was a Sudanese refugee in his 30s who lived in the town. Police said, two other people have also been arrested.