France stabbing horror: British toddler among four children attacked in play park by Syrian refugee

France stabbing horror: British toddler among four children attacked in play park by Syrian refugee

Children are among several people who have been injured by an individual armed with a knife

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Georgina Cutler

By Georgina Cutler


Published: 08/06/2023

- 10:13

Updated: 08/06/2023

- 15:15

An individual armed with a knife injured several people in a playground

A British toddler is one of six injured in a knife attack by a Syrian refugee in south-eastern France.

In an apparent lone attack at a playground in Annecy, a town located in the French Alps, a knifeman stabbed four children - aged between 22 months and 3 years - and two adults.


Two children and one adult are in life-threatening condition, while two children were slightly hurt.

The attacker was a 31-year-old Syrian national from Sweden with legal refugee status in France.

Unverified footage on social media appears to show the asylum seeker just moments after the attack

Police say he was shot and arrested at the scene where he was found to be in possession of one knife.

The attack is not being treated as terror related.

A class of school children in the park at the time of the stabbing watched on in horror as the knifeman went on the rampage.

Screaming can be heard in footage circulating on social media, as those present at the park desperately tried to protect their children from the attacker.

The man responsible carried Swedish identity documents and a Swedish driving license and was not known to security agencies.

His motive remains unclear but officers are carrying out an inquiry into the incident.

Several people were stabbed at a playground at Le Paquier d'Annecy park in Annecy

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According to BFM TV the attack happened in a park and the assailant had been a Syrian asylum seeker

GB News

One eyewitness told GB News: "I could see the life flight helicopter landing, I could see ambulances coming to the scene, I could see police with machine guns running towards the scene, it was a crime scene.

"What can I say, I was terribly shocked...I'm sure other people had similar reactions to the trauma of what had taken place on a perfectly peaceful morning."

Other witnesses said at least one of the children wounded in the attack was in a stroller as locals were heard screaming and crying.

"He jumped (in the playground), started shouting and then went towards the strollers, repeatedly hitting the little ones with a knife," a witness who gave his name as Ferdinand told BFM TV.

A view shows police appearing to arrest someone at the site where a person wounded four children and an adult in a knife attack in a park in Annecy

A view shows police appearing to arrest someone at the park after the attack

Reuters

"Mothers were crying, everybody was running," said George, owner of a nearby restaurant.

President Emmanuel Macron has described the attack as an act of "absolute cowardice".

In a statement on Twitter he said: "Children and one adult are between life and death. The nation is in shock."

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin confirmed the perpetrator had been arrested by police.

In a tweet Darmanin said: "Several people including children were injured by an individual armed with a knife in a square in Annecy. The individual was arrested thanks to the very rapid intervention of the police."

Following the incident, the French National Assembly have held one minute of silence during session.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak tweeted: "My thoughts are with all of those affected by the shocking attack in Annecy this morning.

"As @EmmanuelMacron has said, it was a truly cowardly act. The UK and France have always stood together against acts of violence, and we do so again today."

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