An assailant wounded six people in an unprovoked blade attack at Paris’s busy Gare du Nord train station early Wednesday morning before being shot and wounded by police, France’s interior minister said, drawing praise the quick intervention of the police to help prevent any deaths.
The suspect attacked several people, including a police officer, with a “bladed weapon” during the morning rush hour, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters at the scene, flanked by the mayor from Paris Anne Hidalgo.
He said the unnamed attacker was “between life and death” in hospital after being shot in the chest, according to French media. Darmanin thanked the police “for their effective and courageous reaction”.
“Without the extremely quick intervention, there would surely have been deaths,” he said, detailing how the suspect was neutralized within a minute of attacking his first victim.
“At 6:42 the first acts were described. At 6:43, the police used their administrative weapon after their step of violence,” he said.
Darmanin said the attacker’s weapon “was not a knife” but likely a homemade weapon. He said it was reported that the suspect did not say anything during the attack and that investigators have not discovered any extremist links.
According to French media, the suspect first pounced on a man outside the train station, stabbing him 15 times and seriously injuring him. The attacker then entered the station and attacked four civilians and a police officer, media reported.
The screams alerted two other police officers who intervened as the suspect attacked the officer. The French border guard officer was stabbed in the back but was not seriously injured because of a bulletproof vest, Darmanin said.
The man stabbed outside the station was the only person seriously injured in the attack, authorities said. Police opened an investigation to determine whether the attack merited charges of attempted murder.
Video from Gare du Nord, one of the French capital’s busiest commuter stations, showed an eerie calm as dozens of police gathered near the entrance to the Eurostar terminal in areas cordoned off from the public.
At this time, authorities have not suggested a specific motive. France remains on edge after a series of deadly terrorist attacks since 2015.
The commotion also caused severe disruption to train services at the station, Europe’s busiest rail artery, during the morning rush hour, according to national rail company SNCF.
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