Two children ‘still critical’ after France knife attack

Published June 9, 2023
A general view of flowers and candles left at the Le Paquier park after several children and adults were injured in a knife attack, near the lake in Annecy, in the French Alps on June 9, 2023 (Friday). — Reuters
A general view of flowers and candles left at the Le Paquier park after several children and adults were injured in a knife attack, near the lake in Annecy, in the French Alps on June 9, 2023 (Friday). — Reuters

Two children were fighting for their lives a day after being stabbed by a man in a park in the French Alps, the government said Friday.

“There are still two children considered to be in critical condition,” government spokesman Olivier Veran said in an interview with French media, adding that the children had undergone “surgical interventions”.

He also cautioned against jumping to conclusions in the case, in which the alleged attacker is a Syrian refugee.

“We obviously need transparency, and everything must be done so that this type of drama does not happen again, but once we have done preliminary work,” he said.

In an attack that shocked the nation, a man armed with a knife stabbed four preschool children and two adults Thursday at a playground and public park in the normally tranquil lakeside town of Annecy.

The child victims were aged between 22 and 36 months.

The motive for the rampage remained unclear, with a local prosecutor saying “there’s no obvious terrorist motive”.

The alleged attacker was a Syrian refugee, identified as Abdalmasih H, who officials said was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said he was “not known by any intelligence service” and did not have “any history of psychiatric problems”.

Recently divorced from a Swedish national and in his early 30s, the suspect had previously lived for 10 years in Sweden where he was granted refugee status in April, security sources and his ex-wife told AFP.

He had also sought asylum in Switzerland, Italy and France. The French application was rejected last Sunday as he already enjoyed refugee status in Sweden, officials said.

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