Marseille – ISIS claimed responsibility for an attack, which saw a man stabbing to death two women at the main railway station in Marseille, southern France, before being shot by the police.
One of the victims had her throat slit by the assailant, a man with a criminal record believed to be in his 30s who witnesses said shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) at the start of his rampage, police sources told AFP.
Troops serving in the force known as Operation Sentinel, responded to the stabbings and they shot dead the attacker, whose identity remains unknown.
“Two victims have been stabbed to death,” regional police chief Olivier de Mazieres told AFP, referring to the attack, which occurred at 1:45pm.
In a statement released by its Amaq propaganda agency, ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack and said “the executor of the stabbing operation in the city of Marseille… is from the soldiers of ISIS.”
“If the military had not been there, we would have had a lot more deaths,” Samia Ghali, lawmaker for the Marseille region, told France Bleu Province radio.
Reuters quoted one source as saying that the attacker was known to police for common law crimes, while another said digital analysis of fingerprints had come up with several aliases.
Afterwards, armed police were deployed in the location and all train traffic was stopped on one of the country’s busiest lines.
Sunday’s incident comes amid strong fears from possible terrorist attacks in France following the series of attacks executed by ISIS- or Qaeda-linked fundamentalists in the last years.
Since 2015, a total of 239 people have been killed in terrorist attacks in France, according to an AFP count before Sunday’s incident.
After the stabbings, anti-terror prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into “killings linked to a terrorist organization” and the “attempted killing of a public official.”