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Stabbing in France: Four children injured in a knife attack

Stabbing in France: Four children injured in a knife attack

Annecy, France (Reuters) – A Syrian national wounded four children and an adult in a knife attack in a park in the southeastern French town of Annecy on Thursday, and some of the victims were in critical condition, police said.

A police official told Reuters the attacker was Syrian and had legal refugee status in France. An investigative source said that the security services were not aware and his motives were unclear.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Twitter that the attacker had been arrested. BFM TV showed footage of a number of policemen overpowering an individual in the park.

Police said two children and an adult were in a life-threatening condition, while two children sustained minor injuries. They said the affected children ranged in age from 22 months to 3 years.

“Children and adults are between life and death. The nation is in shock,” French President Emmanuel Macron said in a statement on Twitter, calling the attack “an act of sheer cowardice.”

Witnesses said that at least one of the children injured in the attack was in a vehicle. The accident occurred around 0745 GMT in a picturesque park-course by the lake in the city of Annecy in the French Alps.

“He jumped (on the court) and started screaming, then went towards the prams and hit the little ones over and over again with a knife,” a witness who gave his name said, as Ferdinand told BFM TV.

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“The mothers were crying, everyone was running,” said George, another witness and owner of a nearby restaurant.

Several witnesses described the site of the attack, Le Paquiet Park, as a quiet place usually popular with tourists for its stunning views of Lake Annecy and the mountains.

“It’s a place where babysitters and parents take little kids to play. I often see about 15 little kids there in the morning, and the atmosphere is great,” said Johan, who works in an ice cream parlor across from the park.

France has been shocked by a number of violent incidents over the past few months, including the fatal stabbing last month of a nurse in the northern town of Reims. Also last month, a drunk driver accidentally killed three policemen.

Macron has denounced what he calls the country’s “de-civilization process”, while opposition MPs say his government is too lax on law and order.

“Nothing is more heinous than molesting children,” National Assembly Speaker Yael Brown-Bevitt said on Twitter. Parliament observed a minute’s silence to mourn the incident.

Reporting by Benoit van Overstraeten, Geert de Klerk, and Juliette Jabkerot.

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