A man went on a stabbing rampage in central Paris on Sunday night, injuring seven people, including two tourists from the UK.
Fox News reports that the attack occurred around 10:45 p.m. along the Canal de l’Ourcq. The attacker first struck outside of a movie theater, wielding a knife and a metal bar as he went after three people. Reportedly, four of the seven victims were severely injured during the attack.
BBC reports that the man is reportedly an Afgan national, and was arrested.
After the initial attack on three people outside the MK2 cinema on the Quai de Loire, the attacker fled when bystanders threw pétanque balls at him. The attacker then stabbed the two British tourists on the rue Henri Noguères.
The UK foreign office issued a statement, saying that they are in close contact with French authorities and will be conducting an urgent investigation. French police have stated that there is no suspected link to terrorism at this time.
The Sun reports that judicial police have opened an attempted murder case in response to the incident, and Paris prosecutors have launched an official inquiry.
The victims were all transported to local hospitals with “serious but not life threatening” injuries.
Two UK tourists among seven injured in Paris stabbing attack https://t.co/pbz7B8FWeX
— The Independent (@Independent) September 9, 2018
The New York Times reports that Mounir Mahjoubi, the junior member for digital affairs in the French government, took to Twitter to thank those bystanders that intervened to try and stop the attacker.
“Solidarity with the victims and profound gratitude for the firefighters and the emergency services who immediately arrived, and for the police forces who enabled the arrest.”
Solidarité avec les victimes et profonde reconnaissance pour les Pompiers et le Samu arrivés immédiatement et aux forces de Police qui ont permis l'arrestation. Merci aussi aux personnes qui sont intervenues contre l’agresseur.
— Mounir Mahjoubi (@mounir) September 9, 2018
Paris was the site of several deadly terrorist attacks in 2015, but since then the city has continued to be on alert due to small incidents by lone attackers such as today’s stabbing. As previously reported by the New York Times earlier this summer, a young man from Chechnya went on a knife rampage near the Paris Opera, ultimately killing one person and wounding four others. The assailant was killed by police during the attack, and the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the incident.
After the stabbing in May, French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted his sympathy to the victims and praised the police for their efforts.
“All my thoughts go to the victims and the wounded of the knife attack perpetrated tonight in Paris, as well as to their relatives. I salute on behalf of all the French the courage of the policemen who have neutralized the terrorist. France once again paid the price in blood but did not give an inch to the enemies of freedom.”