A German tourist died and two others were injured after a man attacked tourists in central Paris near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday evening, in what President Emmanuel Macron described as “a terrorist attack”.
Police quickly arrested the suspected attacker, a 26-year-old French national, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters on Saturday.
The suspect was sentenced to four years in prison in 2016 for planning another attack, was on the watch list of French security services and was also known for mental disorders, the interior minister added.
The attack happened in the evening when the man attacked a couple of tourists with a knife on the Quai de Grenelle, a few meters from the Eiffel Tower, fatally injuring a German citizen. He was then chased by police and attacked two other people with a hammer before being arrested.
The suspect had chanted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) and told police he was upset because “many Muslims are dying in Afghanistan and Palestine” and was also upset about the situation in Gaza, Minister Darmanin said.
“I express my condolences to the family and loved ones of the German citizen who died this evening during the terrorist attack in Paris and my thoughts are with the injured…”, President Macron wrote on the X network.
“We will not surrender to terrorism,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on the X network.
French counter-terrorism prosecutors are leading the investigation into Saturday night’s incident.
The attack in central Paris came less than eight months before the French capital hosts the Olympics and could raise questions about security at the world sporting event.
The city is planning an unprecedented opening ceremony on the River Seine, likely to attract up to 600,000 spectators.