A Syrian asylum seeker has reportedly been arrested on suspicion of stabbing four children and one adult in a park in the French city of Annecy.
A man armed with a knife attacked a group of children aged about 3 at 9:45 a.m. Thursday in a park near the town’s lake, a security source who asked not to be identified and a local official told AFP. .
Police said three children are in life-threatening conditions. A man was also injured in the attack.
Initially it was thought that six children had been injured.
The suspect told police he was a Syrian asylum seeker, a police source told AFP. His identity has not been verified.
The attacker is not believed to be known to security services, a police source told the agency.
French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne said she was traveling to the scene of the stabbings.
A press conference is scheduled to take place at 11:30am BST.
Follow below for more updates.
imminent press conference
François Astorg, the mayor of Annecy, said: “The situation is under control, there is no longer any danger.”
He confirmed that there will be a press conference at 11:30am BST.
National Assembly observes minutes of silence
The French National Assembly observed a minute’s silence in tribute to the victims on Thursday.
‘Fear and Horror’: Marine Le Pen
Marine Le Pen, whom Macron defeated last year to win a second term as president, said she learned of the attack with “fear and horror.”
She said: “It is with fear and horror that we learn of the assault of young children in Annecy by an individual armed with a knife. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.”
Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the far-left leader, who came third in the presidential election, said: “Our hearts are broken to have to live through this.”
“How is this possible? Attacking children! Hitting them with a knife!” he told the National Assembly.
Witness describes scene
Fanny, a witness at the park, told BFMTV that calm had been restored to the scene.
“This is the best-known park in Annecy. This is where all the activities take place and where all the young residents of Annecy meet. It is a very quiet place and I have never heard of an attack. It’s amazing,” he said.
Macron denounces stabbings
President Emmanuel Macron has denounced “an act of absolute cowardice in a park in Annecy”.
He said in a post on Twitter: “Children and an adult are fighting for their lives. The nation is in shock. Our thoughts are with them and their families and the emergency services on the scene.”
Where did the attack occur?
The attack took place in the town of Annecy, in the French Alps.
Pictured: Emergency services on the scene.
French soldiers and police cordoned off the scene in a park in Annecy.
What we know so far
Three children are in a life-threatening state
Four children and one adult injured
A suspect is in custody
A detained man is a Syrian asylum seeker
Prime Minister on his way to the scene
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