France launches terror probe after two killed in stabbing

France has launched a terror inquiry after a Sudanese refugee attacked several people in shops and outside a bakery in the southeastern French town of Romans-sur-Isere on Saturday, killing two people.

Five people were reported to have been wounded.

The man has now been identified as Abdallah A.O, reported to be in his 30s.

Witnesses told Reuters news agency that the attacker appeared to target people at random while moving about the center of the town, situated south of Lyon.

“Anyone who had the misfortune to find themselves in his way were attacked,” the town’s mayor, Marie-Helene Thoraval, told AFP.

Counterterrorism prosecutors have initiated a probe into “murder linked to a terrorist enterprise.”

David Olivier Reverdy, from the National Police Alliance union, said the assailant had called on the police to kill him when they came to arrest him.

“He was found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.

President Emmanuel Macron has called it “an odious act”.

The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said that the preliminary investigation has “brought to light a determined, murderous course likely to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror.”

France is currently on lockdown as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. People are allowed to go grocery shopping but are encouraged to stay at least two meters (six feet) from others.

Read more: Coronavirus: What are the lockdown measures across Europe?

dvv,tj/ (AFP, AP, Reuters)

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