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France stabbing – latest: Annecy locals attend mass as Mayor says injured children are ‘stable’

Father Didier Milani and Bishop Yves Le Saux were pictured hosting the packed service in Annecy on Friday

Eleanor Noyce,Alisha Rahaman Sarkar
Friday 09 June 2023 19:07 BST

Flowers and toys laid in tribute at Annecy park after knifeman stabbed children and adults

Locals have attended a mass for the victims of an “unfathomable” knife attack at a lakeside playpark in southeastern France.

Father Didier Milani and Bishop Yves Le Saux were pictured hosting the service in Annecy on Friday, one day after the incident in which four young children and two pensioners were injured, to a church packed full of people praying for the victims.

On Friday afternoon the Mayor of Annecy said he was “confident” about the condition of the children involved in the attack.

Francois Astorg told reporters close to the scene: “The children are stable right now, the adults are much better.”

A suspect has been arrested and identified as a 31-year-old Syrian refugee, who authorities say had been refused asylum in France days earlier, as he had been granted refugee status in Sweden earlier this year.

Well-wishers continued to visit the park on Friday morning to lay flowers and other tributes for those injured in the attack. The children are between 22 months and three years old.

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Local residents return to playground following attack

Local residents and children have returned to the playground in the ‘Jardins de l’Europe’ in Annecy following a knife attack.

Prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis said that of the four children injured in the assault, one was aged just 22 months, two were two-year-olds, and the eldest was three.

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 17:27
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White roses pictured at children’s playground following attack

White roses have been pictured at the children's playground after several children and adults were injured in a knife attack at the Le Paquier park near the lake in Annecy.

The victims are four children aged between 22 months and 3 years and two pensioners aged 70 and 78.

Two of the toddlers and one adult are in a life-threatening condition in hospital, police said.

White roses are pictured at the children's playground

Two of the toddlers and one adult are in a life-threatening condition in hospital

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 17:10
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Annecy stabbing: Who is the suspect?

The suspected attacker is a Syrian national who was carrying Syrian and Swedish identity papers, including a Swedish drivers’ license, according to French authorities.

French prime minister Elisabeth Borne said the 31-year-old was granted refugee status in Sweden 10 years ago and was in France legally. A subsequent asylum request in France had been refused on the grounds Sweden had already approved one, she said.

An eyewitness video, verified by Reuters, shows a bearded man with sunglasses and a blue checkered headscarf running through the park, clutching a knife.

Another shows him jumping a wall into a playground and lunging at a child in a pushchair as a woman tries to block his path.

The suspect was shot at by police and overpowered by officers. He is under investigation for attempted murder, the local prosecutor said.

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 16:50
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France stabbing: what we know so far about the Annecy attack

Here is what we know so far about a knife attack against toddlers in the southeastern French town of Annecy on Thursday, in which some of them were seriously wounded.

Where did the attack happen?

In a park in Annecy, a tranquil town at the foot of the French Alps that is popular for winter sports as well as for summer pursuits like hiking and parasailing. Annecy is known as the Pearl of the French Alps.

The lakeside Le Paquier park, whose name comes from the word for “pasture” in a local dialect, lies between the town centre and the northwestern corner of Lake Annecy.

Who are the victims?

The victims are four children aged between 22 months and 3 years and two pensioners aged 70 and 78.

Two of the toddlers and one adult are in a life-threatening condition in hospital, police said.

Britain’s foreign minister said one of the children wounded in the attack was British, and the lead prosecutor in the case said another was Dutch.

Police on a bridge near the scene in Annecy

Emergency services at the scene of the stabbings

Security forces gather in the playground

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 16:35
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‘Mothers were crying, everybody was running’: Witnesses react to Annecy knife attack

Several witnesses described Le Paquier park as an usually tranquil place popular with tourists for its stunning views of Lake Annecy and the mountains.

“It’s a place where babysitters and parents take young children to play. I often see around 15 toddlers there in the morning, and the atmosphere is fantastic,” said Yohan, who works at an ice-cream parlour just opposite the park.

“He clearly targeted the babies,” a witness who gave his name as Ferdinand told BFM TV.

“Mothers were crying, everybody was running,” said George, owner of a nearby restaurant.

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 16:20
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French National Assembly holds minute's silence for stabbing victims

The French National Assembly has observed a minute of silence to mark the incident.

“Nothing more abominable than to attack children,” National Assembly speaker Yael Braun-Pivet said on Twitter.

“The nation is in shock,” President Emmanuel Macron added, calling the attack “an act of absolute cowardice”.

French National Assembly holds minute's silence for stabbing victims
Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 16:10
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Suspect has one child same age as children attacked, PM Borne says

France is “standing firm” after several very young children were stabbed in Annecy, French prime minister Elisabeth Borne said.

She told a press conference that the attacker was a Syrian national who has refugee status in Sweden.

He has no criminal or psychiatric record, she said.

“He has one child who is the same age as the children he attacked,” Ms Borne said.

“We are absolutely shaken by all this and we are standing firm by the people of Annecy.”

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 15:49
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31-year-old suspect had ‘no apparent terrorist motive’, says Annecy prosecutor

The 31-year-old suspect, a Syrian man who was granted refugee status in Sweden, did not appear to have a terrorist motive.

Annecy prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis told a press conference that he was “not known to any intelligence service” and had “no apparent terrorist motive.”

“The children are in a very severe state and are in intensive care,” Ms Bonnet-Mathis added.

A criminal investigation has been launched and the attacker was arrested and is being held in the Annecy police station, she said.

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 15:30
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Moment knife-wielding man stalks playground before stabbing in French Alps

Warning, this video contains scenes that some viewers may find upsetting.

Eyewitness footage has emerged of a man stalking a playground before allegedly attacking children in Annecy, southeastern France, on Thursday 8 June.

The video shows the suspect walking in the area as members of the public can be heard screaming.

French authorities confirmed four children - aged between 22 months and three years - suffered life-threatening wounds in the attack.

Police have said the suspected attacker has legal refugee status in France.

He was not previously known to authorities.

Moment knife-wielding man stalks playground before stabbing in French Alps

Warning, this video contains scenes that some viewers may find upsetting. Eyewitness footage has emerged of a man stalking a playground before allegedly attacking children in Annecy, southeastern France, on Thursday 8 June. The video shows the suspect walking in the area as members of the public can be heard screaming. French authorities confirmed four children - aged between 22 months and three years - suffered life-threatening wounds in the attack. Police have said the suspected attacker has legal refugee status in France. He was not previously known to authorities.

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 15:20
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Suella Braverman ‘appalled’ by playground attack

Suella Braverman said she is “appalled” by the playground attack in a lakeside park in the French Alps.

The Home Secretary tweeted: “I am appalled by the attack on young children in Annecy, France.

“My thoughts are with the children, their families and the local community who have been affected by this shocking act.

“I’m in touch with my friend, Minister GDarmanin (French interior minister Gerald Darmanin), to offer our full support.”

Eleanor Noyce8 June 2023 15:09

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