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Terror probe launched after Paris knife attack

Police at the scene of the knife attack in downtown Paris, May 12 2018.
Police at the scene of the knife attack in downtown Paris, May 12 2018. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

A terror probe has been opened after a knife attack in central Paris on Saturday evening left a 29-year-old man dead and four injured. Witnesses said the attacker shouted "Allahu akbar!" (God is great!) before being shot dead by police.


The attack took place in a street in the city's Opéra district, an area full of bars, restaurants and theatres which were in full swing on Saturday night.

A waiter at a Korean restaurant, told AFP that a woman came in bleeding and the attacker appeared behind her. He said a young man tried to fend off the assailant who then fled.

"The attacker entered a shopping street, I saw him with a knife in his hand," he said. "He looked crazy."

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said police were on the scene "within five minutes" of the attack and that some nine minutes later the assailant was dead, he added. "The speed of the response obviously avoided a heavier toll," he said.

PM Edouard Philippe: The assailant was neutralised 9 minutes after the first call

One officer tried to restrain the attacker with a taser but when that failed a colleague shot the man dead, a police source told AFP.

Two of those wounded were rushed to hospital in a serious condition but Interior Minister Gérard Collomb later told reporters all the victims were out of danger and would survive their injuries.

The suspect is reported to have been born in the Russian federal republic of Chechnya in 1997.

The parents of the attacker have been taken into custody, the source added.

The Islamic State armed group claimed responsibility, according to the SITE monitoring group, but provided no corroborating proof to back their assertion.

In a message on social media after the attack, France's President Emmanuel Macron said "France once again pays the price of blood but will not give an inch to the enemies of freedom."

Macron: France pays a price in blood once again but does not give an inch to freedom's enemies

A string of jihadist assaults in the last three years in France have killed more than 245 people.

A state of emergency put in place just after the 2015 Paris attacks was lifted in October when Macron's government passed a new law boosting the powers of security forces.

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