Deadly knife attack in south of France investigated by anti-terrorism prosecutor

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The man who killed two people and injured five in the southeastern French town of Romans-sur-Isère had the aim of “seriously disturbing public order by intimidation or terror,” the anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said.

The suspect is a Sudanese man in his thirties who lamented living in a country of “unbelievers,” according to handwritten documents found in his home. The alleged perpetrator went on a stabbing spree on Saturday morning when residents in the town locked down due to the coronavirus outbreak were out shopping for groceries.

First, he went to a tobacco shop where he attacked the owner and his wife. He then moved on to a butcher’s shop where he grabbed a new knife, the town’s mayor Marie-Hélène Thoraval told AFP. He stabbed a customer there and ran onto the street attacking people outside a bakery.

France Bleu reported the man is believed to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” while charging at his victims. When the police arrived he was praying in the Arabic language on his knees on the sidewalk. He asked the police who arrested him to “kill him,” BFMTV quoted David Olivier Reverdy, deputy national secretary of Alliance-Police.

“Under these circumstances, the National Counter-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office decided to open an investigation,” the authorities said, but the case is yet to be determined as an act of “terrorism.”
The suspect is in police custody and two of the injured people are in serious condition in hospital. One of his acquaintances was also arrested, according to prosecutors.

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