A stabber injured six people in an unprovoked attack at the busy Gare du Nord train station in Paris on Wednesday morning before being shot dead by police, the French interior minister said, praising the rapid intervention of the police which made it possible to avoid any death.
The knife attacked several people, including a police officer, with a “bladed weapon” during the morning rush hour around 6:43 a.m. local time (12:43 a.m. ET), Gérald Darmanin told reporters at the scene, flanked by the mayor of Paris. Anne Hidalgo. He said the unnamed attacker is currently “between life and death” in a hospital. French media reported that he had been shot in the chest.
Darmanin thanked the police “for their effective and courageous reaction”.
“Without the extremely rapid intervention, there would surely be deaths,” he said, detailing how the knife was neutralized within a minute of the attack on its first victim.
“At 6:42 a.m., the first acts were described. At 6:43 a.m., the police used their administrative weapon after the violence had passed,” he said.
Several passengers and a Border Patrol agent were among the injured, officials said. The officer was stabbed in the back by the assailant, but was saved by a bulletproof vest, Darmanin said.
Five of the victims were lightly injured, while one was seriously injured in the shoulder blade and rushed in, according to French media.
Video of Gare du Nord, one of the busiest suburban stations in the French capital, showed an eerie calm as dozens of police huddled near the entrance to the Eurostar terminal in isolated areas of the audience.
No specific reason, including terrorism, has so far been advanced by the authorities. France remains nervous after a series of deadly attacks since 2015.
The unrest has also caused severe disruption to train services at the station – Europe’s busiest rail artery – during the morning rush hour, according to national rail company SNCF.
This is a developing story. Please check for updates.