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France. Knife attack in Annecy, four children are in serious condition. What is known about the perpetrator

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The man suspected of attacking six people, including four children, in Annecy, France, is a Christian from Syria, French media reported. Abdalmasih H. has a valid residence permit in Sweden. His asylum application in France was recently rejected.

On Thursday morning, a knife attack took place at a playground in Annecy in eastern France. The attacker stabbed six people, including four children aged 2-3, who remain in critical condition. Abdalmasih H, 31, is suspected of carrying out the attack. The man was quickly arrested by police at the scene on suspicion of attempted murder.

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Annecy. What is known about the attacker?

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Abdalmasih H. is Syrian and has refugee status in Sweden. According to Le Monde, his residence permit is valid until 2025. The man has lived there for the last ten years, married a Swedish woman with whom he has a 3-year-old child. However, the couple recently divorced. His ex-wife spoke to French news agency AFP and admitted that the 31-year-old called her about four months ago and said he lived in a church. According to her, he left Sweden because he was unable to obtain Swedish citizenship.

However, it is not known when exactly he lived in France. “Le Monde” reports that he applied for asylum in this country on November 28, 2022, but it was rejected on April 26 this year, because the man’s asylum in Sweden is still valid. The man received information about the rejection of the application on June 4, four days before he committed the attack. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that although he had already had asylum in Sweden, Abdalmasih H. “for unclear reasons” also applied for asylum in Switzerland and Italy.

Attacker’s mother ‘in shock’

The attacker’s mother, who lives in USA, said she was “in shock” and her former daughter-in-law had previously informed her that the 31-year-old was depressed. According to her, the man’s application for Swedish citizenship was rejected because of his previous service in the Syrian army. “It probably drove him crazy,” the woman reportedly said.

Abdalmasih H. had no fixed address in France. When applying for asylum in this country, he claimed to be a Christian. In the recording from the site of Thursday’s attack, which AFP writes about, the knifeman shouts twice in English “in the name of Jesus Christ” and has a cross with him. He is wearing a dark outfit, dark glasses and a blue headdress.

Witnesses to the incident described the man running around brandishing a knife and attacking probably random people. – He wanted to attack everyone. “I moved away and he lunged at the older man and woman and stabbed the man,” said Anthony Le Tallec, who was nearby.

A playground in Annecy where a knife attack took placePAP/EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT

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Prosecutor’s office: the perpetrator’s motives are unknown

The local prosecutor’s office said there was no indication of a “terrorist motive”. “As things stand, we have no evidence to suggest that the motives were related to terrorism,” Prosecutor Line Bonnet-Mathis said. According to her, the man was also not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. French Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne told a news conference that the 31-year-old was “not known to any services” and had no known history of psychiatric problems. The president is due to visit the victims and their families on Friday Emmanuel Macronwho tweeted that the attack was “absolute cowardice”.

Main photo source: PAP/EPA/JEAN-CHRISTOPHE BOTT



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