An individual armed with a knife injured at least four children in a park in Annecy, France, Thursday morning. Several adults were also victims of the attack. According to official sources, some of the victims are in critical condition. According to the French prosecutor's office, the children range in age from 22 months to 3 years old.
Local police requested on Twitter that people avoid passing through the area and hindering the work of the authorities.
Intervention in progress at the Jardin de l'Europe and at the Pâquier in Annecy. Please avoid the area and do not interfere with the work of the authorities.
Intervention en cours au jardin de l'Europe et sur le Pâquier à #Annecy. Merci d'éviter le secteur et de ne pas gêner l'intervention des autorités.
— Préfet de la Haute-Savoie (@Prefet74) June 8, 2023
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin confirmed that there had been an attack that left several victims, many of them minors, and reported that the suspect had been arrested "thanks to rapid police intervention."
Several people, including several children, were injured by an individual armed with a knife in a square in Annecy. The individual was apprehended thanks to rapid police intervention.
Plusieurs personnes dont des enfants ont été blessés par un individu armé d’un couteau dans un square à Annecy. L’individu a été interpellé grâce à l’intervention très rapide des forces de l’ordre.
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) June 8, 2023
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne, accompanied by Minister Darmanin and the public prosecutor in charge of the case, gave a press conference after traveling to Annecy. They condemned the attack, and the prosecutor was given the floor to provide some information about the incident. It has not yet been confirmed that the attack was religiously or ideologically motivated. "There is no terrorist motive yet. ... The attack took place four hours ago and it is still too early," the prosecutor assured the media.
The prosecutor also provided some details about the attacker. He is a Syrian man who was granted asylum in Sweden 10 years ago. He then applied for asylum in France, which was not granted because he already had political refugee status in Sweden. Thanks to the guarantees of the Schengen Area, which include freedom of movement between European Union countries, the attacker was able to travel to France legally.
The Syrian attacker has no criminal record with the French justice system. He also has no known psychiatric or psychological history. French intelligence and police services did not have the individual on their radars. According to French media outlet BFMTV, which was able to contact a woman in Sweden who claims to be his partner, the attacker disappeared eight months ago from Sweden and had been been in contact for four months.
After the incident, videos circulated on social media showing the attacker running through the park with a knife in his right hand. In some of them, citizens are seen protecting themselves with backpacks and bags, trying to chase the man out of the park.
Warning: the following images may be disturbing to some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
IMÁGENES SENSIBLES | Así fue el ataque a puñaladas perpetrado por un terrorista sirio en un parque en #Annecy, Francia, en el que al menos seis niños y un adulto resultaron heridos. El atacante fue detenido. pic.twitter.com/ptisweIy6N
— VOZ (@VozMediaUSA) June 8, 2023
ALERTE - Des enfants d'une école maternelle, âgés d'environ 3 ans, ont été attaqués au couteau par un individu au lac d'#Annecy. Au moins 7 blessés dont 6 enfants. L'homme a été maîtrisé. De nombreux secouristes, policiers et militaires sont sur place (Le Dauphiné). pic.twitter.com/iMcrSwJBgx
— Infos Françaises (@InfosFrancaises) June 8, 2023