Two People Killed In A Knife Attack In Southeastern France Under Lockdown

Two People Killed In A Knife Attack In Southeastern France Under Lockdown

At least two people were killed in a knife attack in southeastern France, with police arresting the perpetrator. 

The assault took place in the town of Romans-sur-Isère, in the department of Drome, Saturday morning. According to France 24 Mayor Marie-Hélène Thoraval reported that two people were killed. Thoraval said the assailant had injured at least four others, who were targeting people shopping for food, Reuters said.

"My first thoughts are with the victims and their relatives," In a statement posted on Twitter, Thoraval noted that the attack took place at about 11 a.m. Local Clock Date.

The unidentified man had no documentation with him and appeared to be a citizen from Sudan born in 1987, the prosecutor's anti-terrorism office told the Associated Press. The prosecutor's office is investigating whether the man had a terrorist intent, while formal proceedings have not yet been initiated to prosecute him as a terrorist incident, reported France 24. 

Witnesses told Reuters that the man appeared to randomly strike people when traveling around the town center and did so in many locations. The attacker targeted workers and shoppers in a cigarette store, butchers and a supermarket, as well as on the highway, according to the Associated Press.

Grocery stores in France, which are subject to a national coronavirus stay-at-home order, are permitted to open because they provide critical services. France 24 noted that bakeries and grocery stores are situated on the street where the attack took place. It remains uncertain if the attack was related to the national shutdown in any way.

The cause of the incident is not yet clear, and the French police advised people not to spread rumors or incorrect information and to watch official channels of government for the updates.

French President Emmanuel Macron strongly condemned the "odious assault" and promised the assault should be properly investigated. He acknowledged that the attack had comes at a hard time for France, which he described as having been "hit hard" by the coronavirus pandemic in past few weeks. As of Saturday, 6,520 people have died of the virus in France, with a total of 83,000 infections and 43,000 recovery rates per Johns Hopkins University.