Marseille train station attack: Knifeman shot dead by army after stabbing two women to death
The attacker shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ according to a police source, before cops scrambled to Saint Charles station in southern France
A KNIFEMAN stabbed two women to death before being gunned down by soldiers at a train station in Marseille today.
One victim was slashed in the stomach and the other’s throat was slit at Saint Charles station as the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar”, according to a police source.
Cops scrambled to the scene in southern France at around 2pm local time, sparking an immediate mass evacuation.
Confirming the injuries and fatalities, Oliver de Mazieres, a local official, said: “Two victims have been stabbed to death”.
Neither have yet been identified, and nor has their killer, who was in his late 20s and believed to be living locally.
“The attack was frenzied,” said an investigating source. “The man first shouted threats, and then launched into the two women.
“The two were killed by a knife, and then soldiers on anti-terrorism duties intervened. They shot the man dead. At least one large butcher’s knife was used by the attacker.”
The servicemen were part of Operation Sentinel, a wide-ranging security initiative that has flooded French streets with soldiers.
Police sources claimed the incident is likely to be a terror attack, although this is yet to be confirmed.
Locals were urged to stay away from the area, with the scene described as as a “major police incident”.
“There was screaming and shouting, and people were running everywhere,’ said one witness.
“People were picking up children, and trying to help those who weren’t very good on their feet. They just wanted to get away.”
Another female witness called Hajar told FranceInfo: “I heard two shots, that was what triggered the panic. People came out of a waiting room shouting ‘Run! Don’t stay in the station. Everybody outside.’
“I had just got to the station when everyone started running. People sitting on the terrace of a fast food restaurant came inside and shouted ‘Run, get out! Then I saw a woman on the floor, they were giving her CPR.”
Anti-terror officials have launched an investigation into the “killings linked to a terrorist organisation”.
French interior minister Gerard Collomb announced he was rushing to Marseille to liaise with authorities.
A spokesman for Mr Collomb’s department said: “Anti-terrorist prosecutors have opened an enquiry, and the terrorist theory is privileged.”
The knife rampage comes as France is still on high alert following a string of deadly terror attacks which began in January 2015.
Before this incident, 239 people were killed by Islamist extremists over the last two years in France.
After the November 2015 terror attack, which unfolded at the Bataclan concert hall, then President Francois Hollande declared a state of emergency.
Security forces received increased power to use force and launch prompt anti-terror raids.
There have also been a series of smaller onslaughts in France.
A knifeman attacked a soldier at a Paris Metro station last month, but he was swiftly arrested.
In August, a man driving a van killed a person and left another injured after he mowed a bus stop down in Marseille.
Today’s incident comes days after Islamic State released a recording of a man they claimed was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi – the terror network’s leader – urging his followers to strike their Western enemies.