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PARIS – An attacker with a knife stabbed several young children and at least one adult, leaving some with life-threatening injuries, in a bucolic lakeside park in a town in the French Alps on Thursday before he was arrested, authorities said.
French President Emmanuel Macron said “children and an adult are between life and death.” He described the assault in the Alpine town of Annecy as an “attack of absolute cowardice.”
“The nation is in shock,” he tweeted.
Police detained the attacker, said Interior Minster Gerald Darmanin. Police said the attacker was a man in his thirties.
Witnesses said some of the children appeared very young. A man who spoke to broadcaster BFMTV said he saw first-aiders working on “little bodies, 3 or 4 years old, perhaps.”
A local lawmaker, Antoine Armand, said the children were attacked on a playground. Speaking to BFMTV from the National Assembly building in Paris, he said the victims included “very young” children and that they were “savagely attacked.” The attack took place close to a primary school, he said.
National police and an Interior Ministry official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak about the developing situation both said that four children were among the wounded.
Police said two of the children suffered life-threatening injuries and that the other two were lightly injured.
Police said one adult also suffered life-threatening wounds.
Both police and the Interior Ministry official cautioned that cautioned that the number of wounded could evolve because the full details weren’t yet clear.
In Paris, lawmakers interrupted a debate to hold a moment of silence for the victims.
The assembly president, Yaël Braun-Pivet, said: “There are some very young children who are in critical condition and I invite you to respect a minute of silence for them, for their families, and so that, we hope, the consequences of this very grave attack do not lead to the nation grieving.”
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