Four children - the youngest aged just 22 months, two aged two and one of three - were stabbed by a man as they played in a park in Annecy, southeast France, this morning (June 8), it has been confirmed.
Two of the children, who include a Dutch and a British boy (both on holiday in the area), are in a critical condition. Two adults were also attacked.
The perpetrator - a Syrian national - was taken into police custody. Authorities say there is no evidence of a terrorist motive. The man is reported to have been notified this week that his request for asylum in France had been rejected. The reason stated is that he already had been granted the status in Sweden where his wife lives.
The attack took place just before 10:00 in a play area in a park on the side of the lake in the town.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said: “Several people, including children, were injured by an individual armed with a knife. The individual has been arrested thanks to very fast intervention from law enforcement.”
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
#Update: Just in - Video footage of the helicopter at the park in #Annecy, #France, after allegedly an suspected mass stabbing terror attack injured at least 8 minors between the age of 3-5 years old during a school trip to the park. pic.twitter.com/r21C1V8gxG— Sotiri Dimpinoudis (@sotiridi) June 8, 2023
Leaders have responded
Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne has visited the site. The Assemblée Nationale held a minute of silence as news of the stabbings came in.
The Assemblée president, Yaël Braun-Pivet, held the minute as a moment of reflection “for them, and for their families”. She added that she hoped “that...this extremely serious attack would not lead to consequences that will leave the nation in mourning”.
MP of Haute-Savoie Antoine Armand called the attack “abominable”.
Marine Le Pen tweeted: “It’s with terror and horror that we are learning of the attack on young children in Annecy by an individual armed with a knife. My thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones.”
C'est avec effroi et horreur que nous apprenons l'agression de jeunes enfants à Annecy par un individu armé d'un couteau. Mes pensées accompagnent les victimes et leurs proches.— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 8, 2023
A public information unit is open
The Haute-Savoie prefect has activated a public information line. It can be reached on 04 50 33 61 33 from within France.