2 British tourists among 7 injured in Paris knife attack

International Desk: Seven people including two British tourists have been wounded in Paris after they were attacked by a man armed with a knife and an iron bar, according to police and other sources, reports The Guardian.

A source close to the inquiry said the suspect has been arrested and is believed to be an Afghan national.

“Nothing at this stage shows signs of a terrorist nature in these assaults,” the sources told AFP, adding that the attacker had targeted “strangers in the street”.

Of the seven wounded, four are in a critical condition, police said.

Le Parisien newspaper said one of the British tourists suffered a chest injury while the orther was stabbed in the head. The Foreign Office said it was investigating the incident.

The incident took place just after 11pm (2100 GMT) on Sunday on the banks of a canal in the north-east of the capital.

A security guard at one of two cinemas on either side of the Canal de l’Ourcq said he saw a man who had already assaulted people being chased by two other men who tried 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,” said.

A police investigation has been launched into attempted murder, according to a judicial source.

One witness, 28-year-old Youssef Najah, said he was walking along the canal near a bowling green 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 were then attacked, he said.

It is the latest of several knife attacks France has seen in recent months, with terrorism being ruled out in most cases.

On 23 August, a man stabbed his mother and sister to death and seriously injured another person in a town near Paris before being shot dead by police.

Authorities said the 36-year-old had serious mental health problems and had been on a terror watch list since 2016.

That attack came days after an Afghan asylum-seeker was arrested in town of Perigueux for a drunken rampage with a knife in which four people were wounded, one seriously.

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