Five people were injured, including four children, by an attacker carrying a knife in a park in the French town of Annecy (near the Swiss border, in the French Alps), as announced by the authorities. The sources, quoted by the newspaper ‘Le Figaro’, have confirmed that at least two of the minors are in serious condition and their lives are in danger.
According to the local press, the injured are children between the ages of 22 months and three years. A 70-year-old man who was sitting on a bench was also injured. One of the victims is “a 3-year-old girl, a British national, wounded with a knife. Another minor who suffered the man’s attack is a 22-month-old boy, a German national. One of the children in a critical situation has been rushed to Geneva.
A video recorded by a high school student shows the moment when the police chase the suspect.
The author of the attack has been arrested and for now the reasons for his action are unknown. The suspect was also injured by the police, who found him a Syrian identity document. According to the French press, he is a 32-year-old asylum seeker who was not on file with the security services. In the past he had lived in Sweden for ten years and there he had obtained refugee status. His situation in French territory was legal.
An employee of Lake Annecy had warned of the presence of the assailant on a bench by the lake every day for about two months. According to this testimony, he would be a silent man, not aggressive. “He was looking at the lake like everyone else, he had a shaky leg and a big black bag”recalls the witness.
Local media say that the author of the attack, Abdalmasih H., is married to a Swedish woman and is the father of a three-year-old boy. In your asylum application file he declared himself a “Christian from Syria”.
The French President, Emmanuel Macron, described the crime as “absolute cowardice”. “Absolute cowardice attack this morning in an Annecy park. Children and an adult between life and death. The nation is traumatized,” Macron said on Twitter. “It is an attack that traumatizes us all,” said the Minister of Finance, Gabriel Attal, before the plenary session of the National Assembly.
The Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office indicated that it is studying the circumstances of the attack before deciding whether to take up the case. The attack occurred around 0745 GMT in Annecy, a mountain tourism town at the foot of the Alps, specifically in the Garden of Europe, a wide open area of meadows and forests next to a lake used for rowing and other recreational activities. The area, to which numerous ambulances and police vehicles traveled, remains cordoned off, according to television images.
According to Liberation, the extreme right is calling demonstrations tonight in the center of Annecy.
In the National Assembly, the deputies observed a minute of silence: “Abominable knife attack against children in a playground in Annecy”, tweeted the deputy Antoine Armand, who expressed his “support for the victims, the relatives, the forces of order and help”.