Syrian asylum seeker arrested by French police after a man entered children’s playground with a knife, the attack leaving three in critical condition in Annecy, France.
Update 1330 BST: Youngest victim is 22 months old
More details emerging from local media in France citing police and investigation sources. The young victims, reports outlets including France’s CNews are a German citizen who is a 22-month-old boy who was flown to hospital in Geneva for emergency care, a two-year-old boy, a three-year-old girl, and a three-year-old girl with UK citizenship. A 70-year-old man was also stabbed in the neck.
As for the alleged perpetrator, Abdalmasih H. has residency as an asylum seeker in Sweden and is married to a Swedish citizen, but for reasons unknown also applied for asylum status in France in 2022. It is reported this application was rejected just last week because he was already awarded refugee status in Sweden. Liberation reports when the Syrian migrant filled out his application for asylum status, he claimed to be a Christian.
According to a report of Le Dauphine, the attacker is known to a park employee in Annecy, as he has been seen hanging around the area for the past two months. The local told the paper: “the guy comes to sit on a bench every day for two months, dressed in black, black backpack, dark glasses, bearded… He didn’t speak”.
Another said he hung around the park every day “from morning to night”.
Warning: distressing content
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At least six people including four very children were injured in an apparent knife attack in Annecy, a picturesque mountainside town popular with tourists for its proximity to Alpine ski resorts, on Thursday morning.
Early reports indicated one adult and four children were injured, but that figure later rose. According to France’s Le Figaro, two children and one adult are in critical condition, but all the children involved are in a state of “absolute emergency”, so says a police source.
It is reported the children impacted in the attack are just three years old.
Footage of the arrest of a suspected perpetrator was filmed by bystanders and broadcast on national television. Images of the scene show a bearded man wearing a black t-shirt and what is described as a “turban”, carrying a knife.
Reports state the suspect is 32-year-old a Syrian man named Abdalmasih who has an asylum application lodged in France in 2022, and refugee status in Sweden as well. He is not said to be known to police.
This story is developing, more follows.