Police in Strasbourg have arrested a 33-year-old migrant after he reportedly attacked a woman who was walking home and tried to drown her in the River Ill, local media reports.
The 35-year-old victim was walking home on one of the French city’s cycle paths on Friday night when a man with a knife reportedly jumped out from bushes near the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art.
After making his presence known to the woman, he “immediately proceeded to threaten her with a blade”, according to regional newspaper DNA, reporting that the man ignored his victim’s pleas and held the knife below her eye.
A struggle then ensued, during which the attacker pushed the woman into the River Ill and held her head under the water in an apparent attempt to drown his victim.
Following his arrest not long after the incident, police were unable to verify the identity of the suspect, who declared himself to be 33-years-old and Syrian.
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Despite “overwhelming evidence” including his having been in possession of a knife and wearing wet clothes when arrested, the man denies being the author of any crimes against the woman.
The incident is the latest in a string of attacks involving migrants targeting lone females for attack in Strasbourg which have been reported in recent weeks including a sexual assault at the city’s train station at the end of April.
A 20-year-old Albanian asylum seeker was spared jail after groping a woman who was waiting in the hall of the station. “I saw her extravagant tattoos and I liked them,” he said in court, where he made a promise never to repeat the behaviour.
And another attack carried out in mid-April saw a young woman thrown to the ground, sexually assaulted and strangled to the point that she lost consciousness. According to local media, the victim was crossing through a small park on her way home, wearing flip flops, when a 25-year-old asylum seeker from Sudan deliberately tripped her over.