Suspect had history of mental health issues and served four years in prison for plotting an attack in 2016
A young German man was killed and two others were injured on Saturday as a result of a stabbing attack in the middle of a street in central Paris, near the Eiffel Tower, BBC reported.
The attack, involving the use of a knife and hammer, occurred on Quai de Grenelle, shortly before 21:00 local time (20:00 GMT). A 26-year-old French national suspect known to security services has been arrested and anti-terrorism prosecutors have subsequently opened an investigation.
Officials said that the man killed in the brutal stabbing was accompanied by his wife at the time of the incident.
According to France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, the man’s wife was saved by a taxi driver’s intervention, and the suspect fled across a bridge spanning the River Seine.
The man then attacked two more people, hitting one in the eye with a hammer, the minister said.
The police Tasered and arrested the suspect on suspicion of assassination — defined under French law as pre-meditated murder — and attempted assassination in relation to a terrorist enterprise.
The two people injured included a Frenchman aged around 60 and a foreign tourist, neither of whom were found to be in a life-threatening condition after being treated by emergency services
Darmanin said the alleged attacker was heard shouting “Allahu Akbar”, Arabic for “God is greatest”, and told police he was upset because “so many Muslims are dying in Afghanistan and in Palestine”.
According to Darmanin, the suspect — whose history included mental health issues — was on the watchlist of the French security services and had served four years in prison after being found guilty of plotting another attack in 2016.
Soon after the incident, a video was posted on social media in which the suspect criticised the French government and discussed what he described as the murder of innocent Muslims, AFP reported.
French President Emmanuel Macron sent his thoughts to all those affected by the “terrorist attack” and thanked the emergency services for their response.
“The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office will now be responsible for shedding light on this affair so that justice can be done in the name of the French people,” he said.
The incident follows another knife attack that killed a teacher at a high school in the northern city of Arras, two months ago, prompting the French government to put the country on its highest level of national security alert.