A man wielding a hammer has attacked and injured two women in France while shouting “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for ‘my God is greatest’).
The attacker, who stuck in Chalon-sur-Saône, Eastern France, was wearing all black and is still on the run, French media reports.
French prosecutors say they are treating the incident, which occurred just before midday, as a possible terror attack but did not rule out other motives.
The two assaults happened near Place de Beaune, 15 minutes apart. One of the two women is believed to have been hit in the back of the head.
A helicopter was flying over the area to try to find the fugitive.
“A man assaulted two women using a hammer, slightly injuring one of them in the back of the head; both victims are in shock. The events took place near the city centre,” authorities confirmed in a statement.
— Préfet Saône&Loire (@Prefet71) September 15, 2017
The town’s mayor, Gilles Platret, said on Facebook: “The Police force launched a vast search for an individual who delivered two attacks on des this morning, injuring them with a hammer.
“That’s why a helicopter from the gendarmerie is now running over our city. I’ll give you more information as soon as I know more.”
— Yappapp (@YappAppLtd) September 15, 2017
One of the victims is a pharmacist and the other is a maternal assistant. They did not know each other. The woman with head injuries received four stitches and the other was said to be shaken, franceinfo reports.
Earlier on the same day, a man armed with a knife attacked a French anti-terror soldier outside of a Paris metro station, with reports suggesting he made “references to Allah and Islamic State”.
The attack in the French capital occurred at 6:30 am local time Friday morning at the Chatelet metro station, and the man was arrested without causing injury to the soldier.