During a knife attack at a playground in the city of Annecy, France, on Thursday, at least four children and two adults sustained injuries. Several sources have reported that the alleged assailant is a 31-year-old Syrian national.
According to French authorities, the assailant, armed with a knife, entered a small park situated near a lake in the French city and launched an attack on children and their parents. The children targeted were approximately three years old, with the youngest being just 22 months old. Alleged footage of the incident, as reported by The Daily Mail, showed the suspect attempting to stab a child in a stroller. At least two of the children and one adult injured during the stabbing incident are in serious condition.
After the incident, law enforcement officers managed to restrain and apprehend the suspect, pinning them to the ground before making the arrest. The motive behind the attack remains unclear.
French President Emmanuel Macron made a statement saying, “Children and an adult are between life and death. The Nation is in shock. Our thoughts are with them as well as their families and the emergency services mobilized.”
Macron described the attack as an act of “absolute cowardice.”
After the horrific event, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted, “Several people, including children, were injured by an individual armed with a knife in a square in Annecy. The individual was arrested thanks to the very rapid intervention of the police.”
Multiple videos circulating on Twitter purportedly depict the suspect running through the playground while several individuals make efforts to apprehend him.
"All of our lives have been turned upside down."
An emotional father in Annecy, France, whose children were in the playground during the knife attack, describes being in a "total panic" for two hours before hearing his loved ones were safe.https://t.co/PAiZ4D1RJB
📺 Sky 501 pic.twitter.com/K19MDE4zG2
— Sky News (@SkyNews) June 8, 2023
According to a police source cited by Reuters, the suspect holds legal refugee status in France. Additionally, another police source reportedly informed Agence France-Presse that the individual was granted refugee status in Sweden in April.
France has faced a series of devastating Islamic terror attacks in recent years. In 2021, an Islamic extremist stabbed and killed a French policewoman, and in 2020, another individual carried out a fatal stabbing of three individuals in the southern city of Nice. The country experienced a tragic terrorist attack in November 2015, resulting in the loss of 137 lives in Paris. Additionally, in July 2016, a truck attack claimed the lives of 87 people. These incidents have deeply impacted the nation.