French police arrest Afghan armed with knife in Lyon

People walk in the centre of Lyon in August 2020.
People walk in the centre of Lyon in August 2020.PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - A man armed with a long knife was arrested in the south-eastern French city of Lyon on Thursday (Oct 29) as he was about to board a tram, a source close to the inquiry told AFP.

The suspect, an Afghan national in his 20s who was dressed in traditional Afghan clothes, had already been flagged to French intelligence services, the source said.

"He was carrying a 30cm knife and seemed ready to take action," Mr Pierre Oliver, the mayor of Lyon's Second Arrondissement, told AFP.

He is currently being questioned and will probably have a psychological exam, the source said.

The arrest took place near the Perrache train station in the historic heart of the city, not far from where a parcel bomb wounded 14 on a busy pedestrian street in May 2019.

The suspect in the bombing, a 24-year-old Frenchman of Algerian origin, later told investigators he had pledged allegiance "in his heart of hearts" to the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria group.

France was rocked earlier on Thursday by the stabbing deaths of three people at a church in the Mediterranean coastal city of Nice, in what investigators are treating as a terror attack.