PARIS: A man armed with a meat cleaver wounded two in Paris Friday before being arrested by police.
France’s PNAT specialist anti-terror prosecution office said it has opened a probe into charges of “attempted murder related to a terrorist enterprise” as well as “conspiracy with terrorists.”
Seven people including the main suspect were being held for questioning in connection with the attack.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the attack was “clearly an act of Islamist terrorism”.
“This is a new bloody attack on our country,” Darmanin told broadcaster France 2.
A source close to the investigation confirmed to AFP that a large meat cleaver found near the scene was used by the attacker.
Prime Minister Jean Castex, visiting the scene, said the lives of the two victims “are not in danger, thank God”.
The Premieres Lignes news production agency said the wounded were its employees — a man and a woman taking a cigarette break outside.
“They were both very badly wounded,” the founder and co-head of Premieres Lignes, Paul Moreira, told AFP.
Another employee, who asked not to be named, said he heard screams.
“I went to the window and saw a colleague, bloodied, being chased by a man with a machete.”
The company specialises in investigative reports and produces the prize-winning Cash Investigation programme.
Paris prosecutors said the “main perpetrator” was arrested not far from the scene of the crime.
A second person, a 33-year-old Algerian, was arrested later for questioning to determine possible links to the “main perpetrator,” Ricard said.
Five more people — all men born between 1983 and 1996 who were arrested in the Paris suburb of Pantin during a search of a property linked to the main suspect — were also being held for questioning, a judicial source said late Friday.
Five schools in the area went into lockdown for several hours after the attack, and half a dozen nearby metro stations were closed.
“Around noon we went for a lunch break at the restaurant. As we arrived, the manager started shouting ‘Go, go there is an attack…’ We ran to lock ourselves in our shop with four customers,” Hassani Erwan, a 23-year-old barber, told AFP.