Sat, 06 Jun 2020

PARIS - Prosecutors say a man wielding a knife has attacked residents venturing out to shop in a town under lockdown south of the French city of Lyon. Two people were killed and others wounded. The anti-terrorism prosecutor's office told The Associated Press the attack took place at 11 a.m. in a commercial street in Romans-sur-Isere. The alleged attacker was arrested by police nearby. Prosecutors did not identify him. They said he had no documents but claimed to be Sudanese and to have been born in 1987. Prosecutors couldn't confirm French media reports that there were several other casualties, of whom three are in critical condition. They have not yet determined whether the attack was terror-related.

Prosecutors said that other people were also wounded but couldn't confirm French media reports that there were seven other casualties, of whom three are in critical condition.

They also did not confirm reports that the man had shouted "Allahu akbar" (God is great) as he carried out the attack.

The office said it is evaluating whether the attack was motivated by terrorism, but that it has not launched any formal proceedings to treat it as such.

Like the rest of France, the town's residents are on coronavirus-linked lockdown. The victims were carrying out their weekend food shopping on the street that has bakeries and grocers, the office said. Two-meter distancing is being encouraged as in the rest of the country.

Media reported that the knifeman first attacked a Romanian resident who had just left his home for his daily walk - slitting his throat in front of his girlfriend and son.

Following that, they reported, the assailant entered a tobacco shop, stabbed the tobacconist and two customers, and then went into the local butcher's shop. He grabbed another knife and attacked a client with the blunt end before entering a supermarket.

Some shoppers took refuge in a nearby bakery.

There have been a number of knife attacks in France in recent months. In January, French police shot and injured a man in Metz who was waving a knife and shouting "Allahu akbar."

Two days earlier, another man was shot dead by police after he stabbed one person fatally and wounded two others in a Paris suburb.

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