At least four children and two adults were injured during a knife attack at a playground in the French city of Annecy on Thursday. Multiple outlets reported that the suspected attacker is a 31-year-old Syrian national.
The attacker, armed with a knife, entered a small park near a lake in the French city and began attacking children and their parents, according to French authorities. The children were all around three years old, with the youngest being 22 months, and alleged footage of the attack shows the suspect trying to stab a child in a stroller, The Daily Mail reported. At least two of the children and one of the adults injured in the stabbing spree are in serious condition.
The suspect was eventually pinned to the ground by police and arrested. The suspect’s motive is unclear, a source told Reuters.
French President Emmanuel Macron called the attack an act of “absolute cowardice” and added, “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.”
“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,” French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted in the aftermath.
Several videos allegedly showing the suspect running around the playground while several people attempt to stop him surfaced on Twitter.
A police source told Reuters that the suspect holds legal refugee status in France. Meanwhile, another police source reportedly told Agence France-Presse that the man was granted refugee status in Sweden back in April.
Annecy is located almost 350 miles southeast of Paris in the French Alps and has a population of around 130,000.
There were almost 22,000 Syrian refugees in France in 2020, according to data from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.
France has been rocked by Islamic terror attacks in recent years. A French policewoman was stabbed to death by an Islamic extremist in 2021, while another fatally stabbed three people in the southern French city of Nice in 2020. 137 people died in a terrorist attack in Paris in November 2015, while a truck attack in July 2016 killed 87.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.