A man brandishing a knife on Saturday attacked residents who were on a shopping trip to a city in detention south of the French city of Lyon, killing two and injuring others, prosecutors said.
The anti-terrorist prosecution has told the Associated Press that the attack took place at 11 am on a shopping street in Romans-sur-Isère.
The alleged attacker was arrested by nearby police shortly after the attack. Prosecutors have not identified him. They said he had no documents but claimed to be Sudanese and to have been born in 1987.
Prosecutors said other people were also injured but could not confirm French media reports of seven other victims, three of whom were in critical condition.
They also did not confirm reports that the man shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is great) in the attack.
The office said it was assessing whether the attack was motivated by terrorism, but had not launched any formal procedure to treat it as such.
Like the rest of France, the residents of the city are locked in linked to coronaviruses. The victims were shopping for food over the weekend on a street where there are bakeries and grocery stores, the office said. The distance of two meters is encouraged as in the rest of the country.
The media reported that the knife first attacked a Romanian resident who had just left home for his daily walk – cutting his throat in front of his girlfriend and son.
After that, they reported, the perpetrator entered a tobacco store, stabbed the tobacco and two customers, and then entered the local butcher’s shop. He grabbed another knife and attacked a customer with the blunt tip before entering a supermarket.
Some buyers took refuge in a nearby bakery.
There have been a number of knife attacks in France in recent months. In January, French police shot and wounded a man in Metz who was brandishing a knife and shouting “Allahu akbar”.
Two days earlier, another man had been shot dead by the police after having fatally stabbed one person and wounded two others in a Paris suburb.