Paris station panic as man arrested with knife

A video posted online of the arrest at Gare du Nord in Paris.YOUTUBE
A photo said to be from the scene sent out on social media.
A photo said to be from the scene sent out on social media.PHOTO: TWITTER

PARIS (AFP) – Armed police arrested a man carrying a knife at Paris’ Gare du Nord station Saturday (April 22), sparking panic at the international transport hub just days after the militant of a policeman.

Police sources said that “travellers” pointed out the individual wielding a knife to passing police on patrol, who immediately arrested him.

No one was injured in the incident at Paris’s main international terminus and the man offered no resistance to his arrest.

However, there were scenes of panic on the massive concourse, underscoring the nervousness in France, which has suffered a string of deadly attacks in recent years.

Parts of the station were evacuated, with the French capital especially on edge on the eve of an election amid fears that Islamic militants could target the vote.

The man, a 20-year-old Malian with no police record, said he had been attacked by several people outside the station.

He took the knife left by one of the attackers before coming into the station, he said.

In the ensuing panic, a number of travellers abandoned their luggage in the middle of the station.

The station was briefly closed before reopening around 4pm (10pm Singapore time).

Boarding for Eurostar trains to London was also suspended for a short time, according to an AFP journalist at the scene.

The incident came two days after the killing of a policeman on Paris’ famed Champs Elysees avenue and one day before France goes to the polls in the first round of close-run presidential elections.

France remains under a state of emergency following a string of attacks that have claimed 239 lives since 2015.