PARIS - A man wielding a knife and an iron bar injured seven people, including three tourists, in Paris, in an attack that bystanders tried to stop by throwing petanque balls at the assailant.
Four of the victims were in a critical condition, police said, after the man, believed to be an Afghan national, went on the rampage next to a canal in the northeast of the capital on Sunday evening.
Two British tourists, an Egyptian tourist and a local man were among the injured, police added.
|French police is investigating on the scene where a man attacked and injured people with a knife in the streets of Paris in the 19th arrondissement on September 9, 2018. - Seven people including two British tourists were wounded Sunday in Paris after they were attacked by a man armed with a knife and an iron bar, according to police and other sources. (AFP)|
The suspect, believed to be in his thirties, had been overpowered by bystanders and was unconscious when officers arrived on the scene and took him to hospital, police said.
A source close to the inquiry added that though he had targeted foreigners, "nothing at this stage suggests a terrorist attack".
Chaos erupted on the banks of the Bassin de la Villette, an area popular with locals and visitors who frequent the cafes, cinemas and other cultural venues along its banks, just after 11pm (2100 GMT).
Eyewitness Youssef Najah, 28, said he was walking beside the canal when he saw a man running and holding a knife about 25-30 cm (10-11 inches) long.
"There were around 20 people chasing him. They started throwing petanque balls at him," Najah said, referring to the sport popular in France also known as boules.
"Around four or five balls hit him in the head, but they weren't able to stop him," he added.
According to the same witness, the attacker then dived into an alleyway, where the man "tried to hide behind two British tourists. We said to them: 'Watch out, he has a knife". But they didn't react".
The pair, said by police to be in their fifties, were then attacked, he said.
A security guard at one of two cinemas on either side of the water said he had seen the attacker running away from two men who were trying to stop him.
"He had an iron bar in his hand which he threw at the men chasing him, then he took out a knife," he told AFP.
An Algerian man identified as Smain told Le Parisien newspaper he was part of a group that apprehended the attacker.
"I managed to jump on him and throw him to the ground and get his weapon off him," he said, adding that the attacker sustained "several blows from petanque balls, iron bars and sticks" and "looked drugged". (AFP)