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On Camera, Man Stabs Baby In Pram At Park In France, Casually Walks Around

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France stabbing: The suspect is a Syrian who was granted refugee status in Sweden in April

New Delhi:

A man armed with a knife attacked a group of pre-school children playing by a lake in the French Alps on Thursday, wounding four as well as an adult and sending shockwaves through the country.

A video of the attack shows the suspect running at the park and zeroing on a child in a pram. A woman tries to block him; however, he dashes from the side and stabs the child multiple times.

The suspect is a Syrian in his early 30s who was granted refugee status in Sweden in April, news agency AFP reported.

Witnesses described the suspected knifeman running around in a frenzy, apparently attacking people at random, before he was shot by police near the banks of Lake Annecy.

Two of the children — believed to be aged around three — and an adult victim were in critical condition and fighting for their lives in hospital.

Annecy is a scenic town in the French Alps close to the border with Switzerland popular with tourists and home to one of the world’s top animation festivals, which starts Sunday. 

French President Emmanuel Macron called it an “attack of absolute cowardice”.

“The nation is shocked. Our thoughts are with (the victims) as well as their families and the emergency services,” he wrote on Twitter.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne’s office announced she was travelling to the scene and MPs in the French parliament held a minute’s silence.

“We hope that the consequences of this extremely serious attack… will not send the country into mourning,” French parliament Speaker Yael Braun-Pivet told MPs as she interrupted a raucous debate about pension reform.

The motive and identity of the attacker are being investigated and the local prosecutor is expected to give further details at a press conference.

In 2012, a Franco-Algerian extremist called Mohamed Merah killed seven people during a shooting rampage in the southern city of Toulouse, with the murders of three children and a rabbi at a Jewish school sparking widespread outrage.

Most recently, the beheading of a teacher in broad daylight in 2020 near his school in a Paris suburb by a radicalised Chechen refugee led to shock and grief, as well as a national debate about the influence of radical Islam in deprived areas of the country.

With inputs from AFP

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