France knife attack: British child among those injured after several very young children stabbed in park
A British child has been injured after several very young children were stabbed in a lakeside park in the French Alps,, Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has said.
The suspected knifeman has been arrested following the attack which saw several very young children – including one in a pushchair – attacked.
Adults were also attacked in the town of Annecy on Thursday.
At least two children and one adult have been left with life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
The suspect is a 31-year-old Syrian asylum-seeker, police said.
Video on social media appeared to show the attack in a children’s play park.
Footage showed a man in dark glasses and with a blue scarf covering his head brandishing a blade as people screamed for help.
He first circled the playground, slashing at a bystander, and then climbed over its barriers to attack people inside.
He appeared to stab a child in a pushchair repeatedly.
French President Emmanuel Macron described the attack as one of “absolute cowardice”.
Of the victims, he said “children and an adult are between life and death”.
“The nation is in shock,” he tweeted.
Local police said the four child victims are all under the age of five.
National police said two of the children, both about three, suffered life-threatening injuries, as did one adult.
A witness who spoke to French broadcaster BFMTV said he saw the attacker jumping on an elderly man and stabbing him repeatedly.
The witness said he shouted at police to act.
“I screamed, screamed at them to intervene,” he said.
An ice cream seller who works in the waterside park said he had seen the alleged attacker there several days earlier, looking out at the lake ringed by mountains.
Local police said a second adult was hurt and was being treated with the others in hospital.
They gave no other details about the victim and the discrepancy in the number of adult victims was not immediately explained.
Local politician Antoine Armand told BFMTV from the National Assembly building in Paris the victims include “very young” children who were “savagely attacked”.
The attack happened near a primary school, he said.
In Paris, politicians interrupted a debate to hold a moment of silence for the victims.
Assembly president Yael Braun-Pivet said: “There are some very young children who are in critical condition and I invite you to respect a minute of silence for them, for their families, and so that, we hope, the consequences of this very grave attack do not lead to the nation grieving.”
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