(Update 1: Changes leaded with updated number of injured, Adds details throughout)
Paris, June 8 (EFE).- Six people, including four young children, were injured — some of them critically — in a knife attack in a park in the French Alps, authorities reported on Thursday.
A man armed with a knife attacked a group of children who were around 3 years old at 9:45 am in a park in the lake town of Annecy, in southeastern France, according to authorities.
Four children and two adults were seriously injured and several victims who were in critical condition were airlifted to a hospital.
The exact number of children that are critically injured remains unclear until authorities conduct a press conference later today.
Interior minister Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter that the alleged perpetrator “has been arrested thanks to the rapid reaction of security forces.”
Darmanin, prime minister Élisabeth Borne and president Emmanuel Macron have all traveled to the site where the incident took place.
The alleged culprit is a 31-year-old Syrian citizen who defined himself as a Christian when requesting asylum in Sweden and France, according to police quoted by French media.
Identified as Abdalmash H, the alleged attacker has had refugee status since 2013 in Sweden, where he married a Swedish citizen with whom he shares a three-year-old son, according to the reports.
The young man had been living in France since late 2022 and has no police records.
Police apprehended the knife-wielding man at the scene of the attack and are now questioning him.
At the time of his arrest, Abdalmash H. was carrying a cross and a Christian prayer book.
According to several witness reports, the alleged perpetrator began yelling in English and repeatedly stabbed young children, one of whom was in a stroller in the playground.
In videos shared on social media that have not yet been verified, adults in the park can be seen trying to stop the attacker, who was dressed in black, wearing sunglasses and had a scarf tied around his head as he fled with the knife still in his right hand.
In other footage, police wearing their motorbike helmets can be seen detaining the alleged attacker.
The arrest occurred just four minutes after the stabbing spree began.
“Attack of absolute cowardice this morning in a park in Annecy. Children and an adult are between life and death.The nation is in shock,” French president Emmanuel Macron tweeted.
“Our thoughts are with them as well as their families and the emergency services mobilized,” he added.
France’s national assembly held a minute’s silence to honor the victims of the attack.EFE