PARIS (AP) – A knife-wielding assailant killed a 29-year-old man and injured four others in a lively neighborhood near Paris’ famed Opera Garnier before he was killed by police Saturday night.
The Islamic State group claimed the attacker as one of its “soldiers.”
Counterterrorism authorities took charge of the investigation, and President Emmanuel Macron vowed that France would not bow to extremists despite being the target of multiple deadly attacks in recent years.
Paris police officers evacuated people from some buildings in the Right Bank neighborhood after the attack, which happened on rue Monsigny at about 9 p.m. (3 a.m. yesterday Manila time)
Bar patrons and opera-goers described surprise and confusion in the immediate area.
Beyond the police cordon, however, crowds still filled nearby cafes and the city’s night life resumed its normal pace soon after the attack.
The unidentified attacker targeted five people and then fled, according to Paris police and a witness. A 29-year-old man was killed, and four others were injured. When police officers arrived minutes later, he threatened them and was shot to death, according to police union official Yvan Assioma.
Authorities are working to identify the assailant and anyone who might have helped him, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters yesterday.
Prosecutor Francois Molins said counterterrorism authorities are leading the investigation on potential charges of murder and attempted murder in connection with terrorist motives.
“At this stage, based on the one hand on the account of witnesses who said the attacker cried ‘Allahu akbar’ (God is great in Arabic) while attacking passersby with a knife, and given the modus operandi, we have turned this over to the counterterrorist section of the Paris prosecutor’s office,” Molins told reporters from the scene.
The Islamic State group’s Aamaq news agency said in a statement early yesterday that the assailant carried out the attack in response to the group’s calls for supporters to target members of the US-led military coalition squeezing the extremists out of Iraq and Syria.