1 Killed, 9 Injured in France Knife Rampage; Authorities Say Attack 'Does Not Appear to Be Terror Related'
See below for an update on the attacker's motives.
A 19-year-old asylum-seeker was arrested in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon, France, on Saturday after he allegedly killed a 19-year-old and wounded nine others at a subway stop.
The suspect, armed with a knife and a "skewer" of some sort, was arrested at the scene. He is reportedly a 33-year-old Afghan citizen who was hoping to gain asylum in France.
An eyewitness to the attack told France 24 that the attack was frenzied:
“There was a man at the 57 (bus stop) who started striking out with a knife in all directions,” said a young girl whose top was stained with blood.
“He managed to hit, to cut open one person’s stomach,” she said.
“He stabbed a guy in the head, he cut the ear of a lady and the lady was dying at the bus stop and no-one came to help,” she added, sobbing.
She eventually managed to get the woman on a bus, which closed its doors and drove away from the scene.
“There was blood everywhere,” she added.
Three of the stabbing victims are in critical condition, according to the Lyon prosecutor's office. Another 20 people were treated at the scene for "shock."
According to the Associated Press, "The reason for the attack was unclear." However, an official told the AP that the attack did not appear to be terrorism-related.
"The national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office so far had not been asked to participate in the investigation. The Lyon regional administration also said national security forces weren’t involved in the search, which included a few dozen local police officers and a helicopter."
Last May in Lyon, a parcel bomb placed in front of a bakery injured 14 people. The attacker, an Algerian, pledged his allegiance to ISIS when he confessed to the crime.
Raise your hand if you think there's a high probability this attack was terror-inspired.
There have been several high-profile jihad-inspired knife attacks in France in recent years, via The Straits Times:
- May 2018: A knifeman shouting Allahu akbar (God is greatest) was shot dead by police in central Paris [on May 12, 2018] after he killed one person and injured four, prompting a terror probe.
- October 2018: A 29-year-old Tunisian cries "Allah Akbar" (God is Greatest) and kills two young women with a knife at the main train station in the southern city of Marseille. Ahmed Hanachi is shot dead by soldiers on patrol. His attack is claimed by the ISIS group.
- July 2016: Two teenagers slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest in front of five worshippers at his church in the western town of Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray. Abdel Malik Petitjean and Adel Kermiche, both aged 19, are killed by police. The murder is claimed by the ISIS. The teenagers had sworn allegiance to the group in a video.
- June 13, 2016: Larossi Abballa, 25, uses a knife to kill a police officer and his partner at their home in Magnanville, west of Paris, in front of their young son. Abballa is killed by a police SWAT team, but has already claimed the murders on social mediain the name of ISIS.
- June 26, 2015: Frenchman Yassin Salhi, 35, kills and beheads his boss and displays the severed head, surrounded by two Islamic flags, on the fence of a gas plant in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier in south-eastern France. He tries to blow up the factory, but is arrested. He commits suicide in his jail cell.
- February 3, 2015: A knife-wielding man attacks three soldiers guarding a Jewish community centre in Nice. The 30-year-old assailant, Moussa Coulibaly, is arrested. In custody, he expresses his hatred for France, the police, the military and Jews.
Since the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack, more than 200 people have been killed by jihadists in France.
According to a direct witness of the attack who spoke to Le Progrès, the suspect reportedly made a religious reference at the time of the events: “They do not read the Koran”.
According to our information, the victim, aged 19, was originally from Isère (38) and went by bus to the Woodstower festival in Miribel.
A direct witness explains that the unidentified suspect, who claimed to be of Afghan nationality, was armed with a large fork and a large barbecue knife.
He allegedly attacked several people at the bus stop. All witnesses were held for questioning….
So that explains that.