Two Dead and Five Injured in a Knife Attack in Romans-sur-Isère: What We Know

Local News
Police at the scene of a knife attack in the center of Romans-sur-Isère, April 4, 2020.

This Saturday 4th April 2020, a man attacked passers-by with a knife in a street in Romans-sur-Isère, in the Drôme. The alleged perpetrator was arrested.

A man killed two people and injured five others in a knife attack perpetrated on Saturday morning in the centre of Romans-sur-Isère (Drôme), in the midst of confinement linked to the Coronavirus Covid-19 epidemic.

Arrested Saturday 4th April 2020 around 11am, the alleged perpetrator, who presents himself as a Sudanese refugee, attacked several people in a bakery, a tobacco shop and on the street, AFP learned from a source close to the investigation.

Three of the injured were seriously injured, the source said. An initial assessment had reported seven wounded, including one between life and death.

The assailant is said to have been born in 1987 and is not known to police services under the identity he gave, according to the same source.

The Lyon judicial police are seized of the investigation. After checks during the day, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office (Pnat) finally took up the investigation.

“Heinous act”

“All my thoughts are with the victims of the # RomansSurIsère attack and their loved ones. The alleged perpetrator was arrested by the @PoliceNationale ”, tweeted the Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner who visited the site in the afternoon.

“The DIPJ of Lyon is mobilized, under the authority of Justice, to establish the nature and the circumstances of this heinous act,” he adds.

On the spot, the Minister of the Interior specified that the man had “embarked on a terrorist journey”.

The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron also paid tribute on Twitter, ensuring that “all the light will be shed on this heinous act”.

France still under terrorist threat

This attack comes at a time when France is living under a constant terrorist threat since the wave of unprecedented jihadist attacks started in 2015.

Since the beginning of the year, the anti-terrorist justice system has seized an attack. On January 3, a young man converted to Islam and suffering from psychiatric disorders had attacked with walkers a knife in a park in Villejuif (Val-de-Marne) , killing one and injuring two, before being shot by the police.

In 2019, the anti-terrorist justice system was seized three times: during the knife attack in March of two supervisors of the Condé-sur-Sarthe prison by a radicalized prisoner, Michaël Chiolo, after the bombing attack in front of a bakery in Lyon in May, in which 14 people were injured, and after the massacre perpetrated in early October at the Paris police headquarters.

With regard to this latest investigation, the anti-terrorist investigating judges have not yet been able to determine, to AFP’s knowledge, the motivations of Mickaël Harpon, the suspected radicalization agent who stabbed four of his colleagues before being shot.

256 dead in four years as a result of attacks in France

The attack on the Bayonne mosque, carried out at the end of October 2019 by a former far-right activist who injured two worshipers with the gun, was qualified by the lawyer for the victims as “terrorist” but the Pnat did not take up the matter.

In more than four years, the wave of attacks in France has left 256 dead, if we include those of the police headquarters. In total, 60 attacks have been thwarted since 2013, including the last end of September 2019: a man “who wanted to be inspired by September 11” 2001 in the United States, according to Christophe Castaner.

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