Counterterrorism investigation launched in knife attack in France

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PARIS – French counterterrorism prosecutors have opened a judicial investigation after a knife attack south of Lyon left two people dead on Saturday.

Prosecutors said in a statement that charges will be laid Wednesday against the attacker, who was arrested by police a few minutes after the attack while kneeling on the sidewalk praying in Arabic.

The initial investigation suggested that the attacker had acted alone, prosecutors said.

Courts are considering charges of murder or attempted murder for terrorist purposes.

Two people were killed and five others injured in Saturday’s attack on the small town of Romans-sur-Isère, which was in detention amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Residents made their authorized daily purchases at the time.

Prosecutors did not identify the suspect, but described him as a Sudanese man born in 1987, who arrived in France in 2016 and was granted refugee status the following year.

In a subsequent search of his home, authorities found handwritten documents containing arguments on religion and a complaint regarding life in a “land of unbelievers”.

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