(Paris) A 32-year-old Malian suffering from psychiatric disorders, who stabbed three people, including one seriously, on Saturday morning at Lyon station in Paris, was placed in police custody before seeing it lifted in the evening because of his psychiatric condition.
The attack occurred less than six months before the Paris Olympic Games where 15 million visitors are expected in a tense security context. The Vigipirate plan was downgraded to level 2 (“reinforced security-attack risk”) on January 15.
The attack took place shortly after 7:30 a.m.: the assailant seriously injured a man by stabbing him in the abdomen and two hammer blows to the head, according to a police source.
According to the prosecution, this person still had a “vital” prognosis at the start of the evening and was still hospitalized, as was another more slightly injured person. A third person, injured in one hand, was released from the hospital.
According to the public prosecutor, all three, hospitalized in Saint-Antoine and Lariboisière, are “passers-by” who “interposed” and were “injured by knife and hammer blows”.
The assailant, of Malian nationality, was “in a regular situation in Italy since 2016, with a document issued in 2019 which is completely valid”, according to the documents found in his possession, Paris police prefect Laurent Nuñez had earlier specified. , who went there. This title allowed him to travel to France legally.
According to the identity papers he presented, he was born on 1er January 1992, according to a source close to the matter. He was until then unknown to both French and Italian police services, according to a police source.
“This individual clearly suffers from psychiatric disorders,” said the prefect and “medication” was found on him.
The information was confirmed in the evening: after a day in police custody and the first questions asked by the investigators, the custody of this Malian was “lifted following the behavioral examination”, according to the prosecution .
This examination revealed a “psychiatric state incompatible with the restraint measure. He is therefore currently being cared for by the psychiatric infirmary of the police headquarters,” he said.
The first elements initially converged to say that the man presented a “homeless profile”, but “no sign of religiosity”.
Investigators are particularly interested in a TikTok account, which remains to be authenticated, opened in the name of the attacker on which there appears a black man with glasses, bearded, close-cropped hair.
On one of the videos, dated December 2, 2023, the author of the account writes: “RIP (rest in peace, Editor’s note) in three months, may Allah welcome me to his paradise”. In other videos, he notably expresses his resentment towards France, referring to the French military intervention in Mali.
The National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office is under observation in this case.
The investigation into attempted assassination was entrusted to the 2e district of the Parisian judicial police.
“Initial elements, which remain to be confirmed, would reveal that the suspect first set fire to his backpack” before attacking station users, said the prosecution.
The man “was first overpowered by passers-by” before the intervention of the Suge, the SNCF railway police, who then handed him over to the police, detailed a police source, specifying that the man “would not have shouted during his action”.
These attacks caused a “reorganization” of station flows, but train circulation remained “normal”, according to the SNCF.
Several political figures provided their “support for the people attacked” on X and thanked the security forces for their action.
On this same network, RN leader Marine Le Pen linked “worsening insecurity” and “massive and anarchic immigration”. “Macronie must now come out of this dangerous denial,” she said.
The affair caused reactions even in Italy: “This is not the first time that a “resource” arriving in Italy has sowed terror in Europe (…). The defense of Italian borders is the defense of European borders,” far-right leader Matteo Salvini reacted on Whatsapp.
Gare de Lyon, where Parisian trains depart for the South, Switzerland and Italy, is the leading station in France in terms of mainline traffic with 100 million passengers passing through it annually.
The attack which took place there this Saturday is reminiscent of that which occurred not far from the Eiffel Tower on December 2, 2023: a 26-year-old Franco-Iranian, radicalized and also being monitored for psychiatric problems, attacked with a knife and three hammers. people, leaving one dead and two injured. The anti-terrorism justice system has taken up these facts.
On Saturday, in Lyon, an individual on S file and “diagnosed as schizophrenic”, who threatened passers-by with a knife, was also arrested.