PARIS — French police arrested a man who targeted passersby in Paris on Saturday night, killing a German tourist with a knife and injuring two others, France’s interior minister said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he was sending his condolences to the family of the victim and called the stabbing a terror attack,
The suspected attacker was “quickly” arrested and justice should now be done “in the name of the French people”, he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
“We will not give in to terrorism,” French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said after the attack, as anti-terror prosecutors announced they would probe the stabbing.
Police subdued the man, a 25-year-old French citizen who had spent four years in prison for a violent offense. After his arrest, he expressed anguish “so many Muslims are dying in Afghanistan and in Palestine,” adding that he was upset about the situation in Gaza and claimed that France was an accomplice, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said.
The attacker apparently cried “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), Darmanin added.
“This person was ready to kill others,” Darmanin told reporters.
The attacker went after a German couple with a knife, killing the man. He then used a hammer to injure two others.
The attacker, who was not identified by name, left prison after four years in 2020 for planning another attack and was under surveillance and undergoing psychiatric treatment, the minister said, painting a brief portrait of the assailant, who was born in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, a Paris suburb.
The attacker is known to follow radical Islam, a police source told AFP.
The attack happened in the 15th district of the French capital near the Eiffel Tower, with the assailant using a knife to kill and a hammer to attack the injured. Details about the victims were not immediately known.
The attacker was stopped by police who twice fired a taser at him in the stomach, the minister said, praising the officers for their quick response and reiterating that “there would doubtless have been other dead.”
The attack took place close to the Eiffel Tower during a busy late weekend night and came with France on its highest alert for attacks as tensions rise against the background of the war between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
Tensions have risen in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim populations, following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7, when Palestinian terrorists who stormed the border slaughtered some 1,200 people and took around 240 hostages. In response, Israel declared war on Hamas, launching a major military campaign in Gaza that is aimed at toppling the terror group and retrieving the hostages.
Security in Paris is also under particular scrutiny as it gears up to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
In October, teacher Dominique Bernard was killed in the northern French town of Arras by a young radicalized Islamist from Russia’s Caucasus region.
Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.