Seven people including two British tourists were wounded in Paris on late Sunday night by a knife-wielding man. The bystanders tried to stop him by throwing petanque balls at him – balls used in popular sports in France.
The suspect is believed to be an Afghan national and has been arrested. The reason for the attack is not known.
Four of the victims were in a critical condition, police said.
An eyewitness Youssef Najah told that he was walking beside the canal in the night when he saw a man running and holding a knife about 25-30 cm long.
“Around 20 people were chasing him. They were throwing petanque balls at him,” Najah said.
“Four or five balls hit him in the head, but those did not stop him,” he added.
“The attacker then turned into an alleyway where he tried to hide behind two British tourists.
We shouted to them: ‘Watch out, he has a knife”.
He then attacked the couple, the eyewitness said.
This terrible incident happened on the banks of the Bassin de la Villette after 11:00 pm. This area has a number of cafes, cinemas and other cultural venues along the bank which get crowded with locals and tourists in the night.
Eyewitness Youssef Najah, 28, 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, and then he took out a knife,” he told AFP.
The police have started an investigation for attempted murder against the suspect.
This is the latest of several knife attacks France has seen in recent months. Most of the previous cases were related to terrorism.
France has been on high alert following a number of militant attacks in recent years. Most of the attackers claimed their actions in the name of Islamic state groups.