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3 Feb, 2024 21:52

Three wounded in Paris knife attack

Police have ruled out terrorism as a motive in the stabbing spree allegedly committed by a homeless man from Mali
Three wounded in Paris knife attack

Three people were injured in a stabbing allegedly carried out by a Malian national at the Gare de Lyon rail hub in Paris on Saturday, police told AFP. 

The Paris prosecutor’s office is conducting an investigation into the attack, which left one individual with serious wounds to the abdomen and two more with light wounds.

“The suspect did not cry out (any religious slogans) during his attack,” a police source told AFP, and Paris police chief Laurent Nunez confirmed there was no suspicion the attack was motivated by terrorism. The national antiterrorism prosecutor is nevertheless “observing proceedings” regarding the inquiry, according to AFP.

The man, who was armed with a knife and a hammer, appeared to be homeless with “psychiatric troubles,” Nunez told media. He was reportedly subdued by bystanders who held him until railway police arrived at the scene.

When asked for identification, he presented police with an Italian driver’s license indicating he was 32 years old. He also had Italian residency papers and medication in his possession when he was taken into custody, according to authorities.

“A thank you to those who overpowered the man who carried out this unbearable act,” Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin wrote in a post on X (formerly Twitter) on Saturday. 

The incident caused a brief delay in train services to Paris, with rail operator SNCF referring only to “an act of criminal intent” at the French capital’s transit hub, which sees more than 100 million passengers per year.

Paris will host the 2024 Olympics later this year and is expecting 15 million visitors to descend on the city, stretching its security services to the limit. Nunez is also in charge of security for the games.

Last summer, riots broke out across France following the police shooting of a 17-year-old of Algerian descent during a traffic stop in the Paris suburb of Nanterre. Of the thousands arrested, most were between the ages of 17 and 18. The officer responsible was charged with homicide, though this action failed to quell the unrest which spread beyond France’s borders.

A nationwide law enforcement crackdown has put more people in French prisons than ever before, with the country’s incarcerated population surpassing 73,000 for the first time in 2022. Detention facilities are reportedly so overcrowded that thousands of prisoners are forced to sleep on mattresses on the floor.