Two people were stabbed to death in a French city on Saturday and five others injured, which officials are investigating as a terrorist attack.
The knife-wielding attacker was arrested near the site of the attack in Romans-sur-Isère, south of Lyon, when he knelt on the floor and prayed in Arabic, according to the French counter-terrorism prosecutor.
The man, who was not identified, was stabbed when his victims searched for food during the nationwide blockade of the corona virus.
He started his brutal killing spree by slitting the throat of a man who had just walked in front of the victim’s girlfriend and son.
Then he made his way to a tobacco shop, where he stabbed the tobacco dealer and two customers before entering a butcher shop.
There he reached for another knife and attacked a woman with the blunt end of the weapon when the buyers took refuge.
The prosecutor said in a statement that initial investigations indicated that the attacker was “on a determined murder course aimed at seriously disrupting public order through intimidation or terror,”
President Emmanuel Macron said the “hideous” attack added to the difficulties the country was facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“My thoughts are with the victims of the attack in Romans-sur-Isère and with the wounded and their families,” said Macron tweeted. “All light is thrown on this hideous act …”
The suspect had no identification, but claimed to be Sudanese and was born in 1987, according to the prosecutor. One of his acquaintances was also arrested.
When the suspect’s house was searched after the attack, the authorities found handwritten documents that included religious arguments and a complaint about life in a “land of the unbelievers,” French officials said.
The attacks were answered by 100 police officers and 45 firefighters. French interior minister Christophe Castaner later arrived to speak to shopkeepers and described the incident as an act of terrorism, according to the BBC.
“A man started a terrorist trip this morning,” he said.
It was not immediately clear whether the attacker was linked to extremist groups.
With postal wires.