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Paris knife attack: Details released so far

Details are still emerging on last night’s knife attack in Paris, which has killed one person and injured four, and has been claimed as the work of a “soldier of Islam” by the so-called Islamic State.

Just after 21h last night (Saturday May 12), a man - apparently working alone - began randomly stabbing people in central Paris, on rue Monsigny (2nd arrondissement).

According to reports, he was shouting “Allahu Akbar” (meaning "God is great" in Arabic).

The area, which is found between Place de l’Opéra and the Bourse, contains many bars, restaurants and theatres, and was characteristically busy.

As the attack continued, others were forced to flee and hide inside.

Police attempted to Taser the assailant, but were eventually forced to shoot twice to stop him attacking anyone else, killing him.

According to a statement by Paris police at 22h30 last night, one victim - not yet identified - was pronounced dead at the scene. Another man, aged 34, was rushed to the Georges-Pompidou hospital, along with a 54-year-old woman who was also seriously injured.

Two others, a 26-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man, were slightly injured.

Interior minister Gérard Collomb, who visited the hospital, congratulated the quick response of the emergency services.

He said: "I bow to the 'cold-blooded response' of the police, who were able to neutralise the attacker."

He added: “The person who was most seriously injured is doing better. They were operated on and have been saved. The others are also out of danger. All my thoughts are with the victims of this hateful attack.”

The assailant is being named as Khamzat Azimov, a naturalised French citizen who was born in Chechnya (Russia) in 1997.

Having obtained French nationality in 2010, he had recently passed his Baccalaureate in Strasbourg (Bas-Rhin), and had since moved to Paris with his parents.

He had no previous criminal record, but had come to the attention of authorities before, thanks to his previous interaction with the husband of a woman who had travelled to Syria (often seen as a warning sign of terrorist involvement or sympathy).

Late last night, so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack through its propaganda agency, Amaq, and said it was retaliation for Western attacks on Islamists in Iraq and Syria.

The statement said: “The perpetrator of this knife attack in Paris is [was] a soldier of Islamic State, and the operation was carried out in retaliation against the Coalition States [that are in Iraq and Syria].”

Commenting on the attack, President Emmanuel Macron said: “All my thoughts are with the victim and those injured in the knife attack this evening in Paris, and their loved ones. On behalf of all French people, I commend the police force that neutralised the assailant. My first thoughts are with the victims of this hateful act.”

Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said: “Tonight, our town has been bruised. My thoughts are with the family of the victim who lost their life. I am also thinking of those who were injured and their loved ones. I want to tell them that all Parisians are standing by their side.”

An anti-terror investigation has now been opened to ascertain more information on the attack.

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