Two killed in France attack

Attacks in France and Canada over the weekend being investigated as terrorist acts

MARSEILLE Two women were stabbed to death and their assailant shot dead by soldiers in the southern port city of Marseille yesterday in what police sources described as a "likely terrorist act".

Three police sources said the suspect had shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) as he carried out his attack at Marseille train station. No further details were immediately available. Police cordoned off the area.

A witness told Reuters she saw a man take out a knife from his sleeve and then stab a young girl and then a second woman.

She added that she saw soldiers from France's Sentinelle force who were patrolling in the area arrive on the public square at the Gare Saint-Charles station.

The two victims - one aged 17 and the other 20 - suffered gory injuries. According to two police sources, one had her throat slit while the other was stabbed in the stomach.

"If the military had not been there, we would have had a lot more deaths," Samia Ghali, lawmaker for the Marseille region, told France Bleu Province radio.

Regional president Renaud Muselier, who was speaking from the site of the attack, told BFM TV: "We have generally avoided these sort of attacks in Marseille,"

"I think the security services responded extremely quickly.

"It's difficult to do more because when you see the distance between the two bodies and the attacker it's only 10m, so they intervened quickly."

French anti-terror prosecutors said yesterday that they had opened an investigation into the attack.

The prosecutor's office in Paris said in a statement that the probe would focus on "killings linked to a terrorist organisation" and the "attempted killing of a public official", two terror-related charges.

The incident in Marseille came only days after the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria released a recording of what it said was its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urging his followers to strike their enemies in the West, AFP reported.

Since January 2015, the government has launched Operation Sentinelle, deploying about 7,000 troops across the country to guard high-risk areas such as transport hubs, tourist sites and religious buildings.

Attacks by Islamist extremists since 2015 have left 239 people dead in France, according to an AFP count before yesterday's incident.


Canadian police said they were investigating violent attacks in Edmonton, Canada, on Saturday night as "acts of terrorism" after a man hit a police officer with a car and stabbed him and then later struck four pedestrians while driving a second vehicle.

The officer and the other victims were taken to the hospital for treatment of multiple injuries, police in the western Canadian city said.

An Islamic State in Iraq and Syria flag was found in the Chevrolet Malibu that struck the officer, CTV reported, citing police.

Police said the suspect, believed to be 30, crashed the car through a barricade and hit the officer at about 8.15pm local time (yesterday morning, Singapore time), sending him flying nearly 5mthrough the air and onto a police cruiser.

The suspect then jumped out of the car, stabbed him and fled the scene, police said.

Later that evening, police at a checkpoint identified a man driving a U-Haul vehicle as the owner of the Malibu.

The suspect fled the scene and deliberately hit pedestrians as police pursued him, sending at least four people to the hospital with injuries, authorities said.

Police arrested the suspect after the vehicle flipped over during the pursuit.