A person known to the French authorities as a radical Islamist with mental health troubles stabbed a German tourist to death and wounded two people, including a British father, by the Eiffel Tower on Saturday.
The attacker, who has been named locally as Armand R., shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he was taken in by Paris police, who immobilised him with a stun gun.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said Armand. R., born in 1997, is French and has previously been arrested in an investigation into murder and attempted murder.
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he had already been sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for planning another attack which he failed to carry out, and was released in 2020.
Since then he had lived with his parents in Paris’ suburbs while undergoing ‘psychiatric and neurological treatment’.
The attacker, who has been named locally as Armand R., shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he was taken in by Paris police, who immobilised him with a stun gun
The deadly attack in central Paris during a busy weekend night came with the country on its highest alert for attacks
The attack has rocked France, which has seen tensions rise amid the Israel-Hamas conflict
Tensions have risen in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim populations, following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip
During his time in custody he had frequently complained about ‘Muslims being killed in Afghanistan and Palestine’.
He had also referenced the current Israel-Hamas conflict, claiming that ‘France was complicit’ with Israel in the massacre of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.
The deadly attack in central Paris during a busy weekend night came with the country on its highest alert for attacks, as tensions rise against the background of the war between Israel and Hamas.
He fatally stabbed the as-yet-unnamed German tourist, born in the Philippines in 1999, with a knife in the back and shoulder, which led to a cardiorespiratory arrest before he passed away.
The second victim of the attack was British, and was out walking with his wife when Armand R. attacked him from behind.
‘The family were on the Avenue President Kennedy when they were set upon,’ said an investigating source, who added: ‘A hammer was used to hit the man over the head.’
A police source said that the attacker was known for psychiatric disorders and had said he could not stand Muslims being killed in the world. Pictured: French police secures the access to the Bir-Hakeim bridge
A man has been stabbed to death while a British tourist is reportedly among two others badly injured after a knifeman screaming ‘Allahu Akbar’ launched a frenzied attack in Paris. Pictured: Police secures the access to the Bir-Hakeim bridge near the Eiffel Tower
A police source said that the attacker was known for psychiatric disorders and had said he could not stand Muslims being killed in the world
The Englishman was rushed to hospital, where his condition was later described as ‘stable’. A third victim was also badly hurt in a hammer attack, said the source.
The area by Bir Hakeim bridge, usually thronging with tourists and locals, was cordoned off by police and bright with the flashing lights of security forces and emergency services.
A taxi driver who witnessed the scene intervened, Darmanin said.
‘He had threatened them very violently… he will now have to answer for his actions before justice,’ Darmanin said.
The attack has rocked France, which has seen tensions rise amid the Israel-Hamas conflict.
President Emmanuel Macron said he was sending his condolences to the family of a German killed in the ‘terrorist attack’.
Macron, writing on X, thanked security forces for their quick arrest of the suspected attacker and said justice should be served ‘in the name of the French people’.
‘We will not give in to terrorism,’ Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on X after the attack.
‘Paris is in mourning after this terrible attack,’ Transport Minister Clement Beaune wrote on X.
Joseph S., a 37-year-old supermarket manager who asked not to give his last name, witnessed the scene as he sat in a bar, and said he heard screams and people shouting ‘help, help’ as they ran.
One person died and another was injured, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on social media platform X
Police officers stand guard. Officers said there was no early indication as to the motive of the stabbing
He said a man wielding an object attacked a man who had fallen down, and within 10 minutes the police arrived.
France has suffered several attacks by Islamist extremists, including the November 2015 suicide and gun attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group in which 130 people were killed.
There had been a relative lull in recent years, even as officials have warned that the threat remains.
But tensions have risen in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim populations, following Hamas’s attack on Israel on October 7 and Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip.
Security in Paris is also under particular scrutiny as it gears up to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games.
In October, teacher Dominique Bernard was killed in the northern French town of Arras by a young radicalised Islamist from Russia’s Caucasus region.