MARSEILLE • French soldiers shot and killed a man yesterday after he allegedly stabbed to death two women at Marseille's main train station, the French Interior Ministry said, in what police sources called a "likely terrorist act".
Three police sources said the suspect had shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) as he carried out his attack.
The victims suffered gory injuries, with a police source saying one victim's throat was slit while the other was stabbed in the abdomen.
Another police source said the man suspected of being behind the attack was estimated to be aged between 25 and 30 and had no identification papers on him.
No other details were immediately available about the suspect.
Local prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux said the assault took place just before 2pm, The Daily Mail reported.
Police cordoned off the area and told people to stay away.
A witness told Reuters she saw a man take out a knife from his sleeve and then stab a girl and a second woman, shouting what could have been "Allahu Akbar". She added that she saw soldiers from France's Sentinelle force, who were patrolling the area, arrive on the public square at Saint-Charles station.
STATE OF PANIC
I had just got to the station when everyone started running. People outside on the terrace came inside and shouted 'Run, get out!' Then I saw a woman on the floor, they were giving her CPR.
"After the attack carried out next to Marseille Saint-Charles, I am immediately going to the site of the attack," French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said on Twitter.
The Daily Mail cited a witness known only as Hajar, who told FranceInfo: "I heard two shots, that was what triggered the panic.
"People came out of the waiting room shouting, 'Run! Don't stay in the station. Everybody outside.'
"I had just got to the station when everyone started running. People outside on the terrace came inside and shouted 'Run, get out!' Then I saw a woman on the floor, they were giving her CPR."
France has been in a state of emergency following a spate of attacks by Islamist militants over the last two years, including attacks in Paris in November 2015 that killed 130 people.
The government has since launched Operation Sentinelle, deploying about 7,000 troops across the country to guard high-risk areas such as transport hubs, tourist sites and religious buildings.
The attacks since 2015 have left 239 people dead, according to an Agence France-Presse count before yesterday's incident.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE