PARIS — French police arrested a man who targeted passersby in Paris on Saturday night, killing a German tourist with a knife and injuring two others, France’s interior minister said.
Police subdued the man, a 25-year-old French citizen who had spent four years in prison for planning a violent offense. After his arrest, he expressed anguish about Muslims dying, notably in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, and claimed that France was an accomplice, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. The attacker apparently cried “Allahu Akbar” (God is great), Darmanin added.
“This person was ready to kill others,” Darmanin told reporters.
The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office confirmed it has opened an investigation.
The attacker went after a German couple with a knife, killing the man and used a hammer to injure two others.
The attacker, who was not identified by name, left prison after four years in 2020 and was under surveillance and undergoing psychiatric treatment, the minister said, painting a brief portrait of the assailant, who was born in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, a Paris suburb. He was most recently living with his parents in the Essonne region, south of Paris.
The fatal attack occurred in the 15th district of the French capital with the assailant using a knife to kill the German tourist, who was not identified. He then crossed the Seine river to the Right Bank and used a hammer to attack the injured. Details about the victims were not immediately known.
The attacker was stopped by police who twice fired a taser at him in the stomach, the minister said, praising the officers for their quick response and reiterating that “there would doubtless have been other dead.”
France has been under a heightened terror alert since the fatal stabbing in October of a teacher in the northern city of Arras by a former student originally from the Ingushetia region in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains and suspected of Islamic radicalization. That fatal attack came three years after another teacher was killed outside Paris, beheaded by a radicalized Chechen later killed by police.
The Saturday attack raised the fear level in the French capital, still marked by the 2015 attacks of cafes and a music hall by Islamist radicals that killed 130 people.
“We will cede nothing in the face of terrorism. Never,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on X, formerly Twitter, sending her condolences to the victims and their families.