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France President Emmanuel Macron visits children injured in knife attack

Prosecutors said the attack did not appear to be terrorism-related

Deutsche Welle Published 09.06.23, 05:10 PM
President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte visited a hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble, which is treating children injured in a Thursday knife attack

President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte visited a hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble, which is treating children injured in a Thursday knife attack Deutsche Welle

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday visited a hospital that admitted four children injured a day earlier in a stabbing attack.

The children were wounded on Thursday in the Alpine town of Annecy in the eastern Haute-Savoie region.


One of the injured infants was a British citizen, while another was Dutch.

The wounded children were between 22 and 36 months old. Also injured in the knife attack were two men in their 70s.

Also on Friday, prosecutors said that the motive for the attack was unclear.

Macron visits hospital in Grenoble

Macron and his wife Brigitte arrived in the eastern city of Grenoble, where the hospital treating the injured children is located.

The presidency said that Macron would also visit those who "contributed in helping and supporting (the children)."

Government spokesman Oliver Veran told Franceinfo radio that "there are still two children considered to be in critical condition." He confirmed that some underwent surgery.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said the children's condition was critical, but "stable."

Motive still unknown

Prosecutors said the man’s motives were unknown but did not appear to be terrorism-related.

"There's no obvious terrorist motive," local prosecutor Line Bonnet Mathis said.

She said that the suspect was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol when he carried out the attack.

France's prime minister said the man was "not known by any intelligence service" and did not have "any history of psychiatric problems."

The suspect is a Syrian citizen in his early 30s and had spent the previous 10 years living in Sweden, where he was granted refugee status in April.

Borne said that he had entered France legally and was carrying Swedish identity documents.

The man's ex-wife, who spoke to French news agency Agence-France Presse (AFP) on condition of anonymity, said: "He called me around four months ago. He was living in a church."

She said that the man had left Sweden because he was unsuccessful in obtaining Swedish citizenship.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told France's TF1 broadcaster that the man had sought asylum in Switzerland, Italy and France. His application for asylum in France was rejected last Sunday as he already had refugee status in Sweden.

Eyewitnesses recount attack

The attacker could be heard shouting "in the name of Jesus Christ" in a video taken by a bystander.

Eyewitness Anthony Le Tallec told the Dauphine Libere local newspaper that the assailant "wanted to attack everyone."

"I moved away and he lunged at an old man and woman and stabbed the old man," Le Tallec recounted.

A young man who came face-to-face with the attacker used his backpack as a shield to block the attack.

"All I know is I was not there by chance," the young man, who identified himself only as Henri, told the CNews broadcaster. "It was unthinkable to do nothing … I followed my instincts and did what I could to protect the week."

A pensioner told Reuters that he had been sitting on a park bench when the attacker approached on the run.

"He probably wanted to create one more victim," the man said, identifying himself only as Youssouf.

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