World News

Man Wielding Knife Kills 1 and Wounds 4 in Central Paris

Posted May 12, 2018 5:49 p.m. EDT
Updated May 12, 2018 5:53 p.m. EDT

PARIS — A man armed with a knife attacked five people in a central neighborhood near the Paris Opera on Saturday, according to French police, killing one and wounding four, two seriously.

The interior minister, Gérard Collomb, said the attacker was killed by police.

A restaurant waiter, Amine Belkacem, 50, who was serving diners in a Moroccan restaurant, said he saw young people running away from where the stabbing had happened. He asked them what was going on, and they told him they had heard shots and started fleeing.

Belkacem said he then saw a man running down the street who tried to stab at someone who was in a taxi.

“This is such a quiet neighborhood, we never expected anything like this,” Belkacem said.

The stabbing happened about 600 yards from the Opera Garnier, in a lively area known for its Japanese restaurants.

Jules, 17, who refused to give his last name, was waiting on the line outside the Kintaro restaurant with his mother and aunt, when he heard shouts, so he rushed inside the restaurant, where customers were hiding under the tables.

A few minutes later, he said, he saw three police officers rush toward the assailant, who took a knife out of his pants’ pocket.

“I was so scared, I put my head on the floor,” Jules said, adding that he did not see what happened next. “I’m so shocked, I don’t know how I’ll be able to sleep tonight.”

Streets were closed in the area, which is in the Second Arrondisement, within walking distance of the Palais Garnier, the home of the Paris Opera.

The knife assault in Paris recalled an attack in June in London on a warm Saturday night, when assailants stabbed people strolling through the popular Borough Market area after abandoning a van they had driven into pedestrians on London Bridge. Eight people were killed and more than 20 wounded in that attack.

In August, police in the southwest Finnish city of Turku shot and wounded a knife assailant who killed two people and wounded eight.

A man in Hamburg, Germany, in July fatally stabbed one person and wounded five at a supermarket. Police arrested him as he tried to flee.