A horrifying knife attack in a children’s playground in Annecy, southeast France, left four young children between the ages of one and three injured. The children, including a three-year-old British child and a Dutch toddler, are now in stable condition in hospital. Two adults were also injured, one critically. The police arrested a 31-year-old Syrian man with refugee status in Sweden following the incident.
Antoine Armand, regional deputy, called the attack “abominable” and stated that authorities are investigating but know “very little” about the incident. French Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin visited the scene of the attack. Borne stated that the attacker has “no criminal or psychiatric record.”
Annecy prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis confirmed that the young victims ranged from 22 months old to three years. She added that there “doesn’t seem to be any kind of terrorist motivation.” The suspect, who recently arrived in France from Sweden, had unsuccessfully applied for asylum in France last year, claiming to be a Syrian Christian. During the attack, he invoked the name of Jesus Christ.
The suspect’s ex-wife, speaking to BFM TV, stated that her former partner was a Christian and had not displayed a violent streak before. She also mentioned that he had not contacted her for four months. The attack has stirred the ongoing debate on immigration in France.
Tributes of white roses and children’s drawings have appeared at the playground where the attack occurred. The motive behind the attack remains a mystery, and the horror of the event has shaken the nation. French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his shock at the “act of cowardice,” while UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is on a trip to the US, offered his thoughts to those affected and their families, stating that the UK is ready to offer any assistance needed.
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