- Attacker described as a 32-year-old man who ‘presented Italian identity papers’
Three people have been wounded during a savage knife attack at one of the biggest railway stations in Paris today.
A 32-year-old man, who has not been named, carried out the knifing spree at the Gare de Lyon, in the east of the French capital, at 8am on Saturday.
The attacker, who has now been arrested, set his backpack on fire and then set upon travellers at the mainline station with a knife and a hammer before he was tackled to the ground a rail officer.
An investigating source said the perpetrator was a Malian national with ‘severe psychiatric problems’ and was found with an Italian driving licence on him.
‘The first victim suffered severe stomach wounds, but his life is not in danger anymore. Two other victims suffered slight injuries, and were taken to hospital for treatment,’ the source added.
Soldiers patrol inside the Gare de Lyon station after a knife attack at the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris
French soldiers watch over passengers inside the Gare de Lyon train station in Paris following a savage knife attack
French forensic and judicial police attend the crime scene after a knife attack at Paris’s Gare de Lyon railway station
‘The suspect is a Malian national with severe psychiatric problems,’ said the source.
‘He had a resident’s permit through Italy, and had an appointment to see a psychiatrist in Turin this weekend.
‘He first ignited his backpack, and then appeared to slash people at random by an escalator.
‘A rail official tackled him to begin with, and then police and anti-terrorist soldiers appeared on the scene.
‘The man was found to have an Italian driving licence on him, and did not offer any motive for his actions. There were no slogans shouted.’
An investigation has been opened into attempted murder, while the suspect is held in a secure psychiatric unit.
Laurent Nuñez, the Paris police prefect, said: ‘As we speak, there are no elements to suggest that this is a terrorist act.
‘The suspect’s residence permit was issued in 2019 and remains active,’ said Mr Nuñez. ‘The investigation is being carried out by prosecutors, with the assistance of judicial police.’
Paris Police Prefect Laurent Nunez speaks with members of the media after a man with a knife wounded several people at the Gare de Lyon rail station
French forensic police officers work on the site after a man with a knife wounded several people in Paris
A French soldier of the Sentinelle security operation stands guard in a hall after a knife attack at Paris’s Gare de Lyon railway statio
Police investigators work inside the Gare de Lyon station after a knife attack
A French soldier of the Sentinelle security operation stands guard at Paris’s Gare de Lyon railway station, which was immediately evacuated after the attack
French soldiers secure the area outside the Gare de Lyon rail station in Paris after a man with a knife wounded several people
A general view outside of the Gare de Lyon railway station in Paris
Gare de Lyon, the second busiest station in France, which handles up to 150million passengers a year, was packed on a Saturday morning.
It was immediately evacuated after the attack, with all services cancelled.
Officers said there was no early indication as to the motive of the stabbing, but it follows a series of bomb, gun and knife attacks carried out by Islamic State and al-Qaeda operatives in France, dating back to early 2015.
The deadliest single terrorist attack ever in the country came in November 2015 when 130 people were killed in Paris.
Suicide bombers pledging allegiance to ISIS targeted the Stade de France, cafes, restaurants and the Bataclan music venue, where 90 died.
Earlier in the year, two Paris-born gunmen linked to Al-Qaeda broke into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, leaving 17 people dead inside and three outside.
In July 2016, 86 people were called and more than 400 injured when a 19 tonne truck was deliberately driven into crowds on the seafront promenade at Nice, which is just 20 miles from Cannes.
The terrorist turned out to be a Tunisian immigrant who was shot dead by police.
During the same month, two Isis terrorists murdered an 86-year-old Catholic priest during a church service in Normandy.
And in October 2020, three people were stabbed to death by a Tunisian immigrant in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice.
There have also been frequent knife attacks on the forces of law and order, leading to the deaths of serving police.