A knife attack in Romans-sur-Isère (pictured) southeastern France a Soudanaise refugee has killed two people, and left several others injured. The incident took place in morning hours around 10:45 on April 4, Holy Saturday, at eve of Catholic celebration of Easter. A terror investigation is now underway suspecting deliberate premeditated action.
Five people were reported to have been wounded, and two killed one of them a man(44) who attempted to protect his wife and child (13). Minster of Interior Christophe Castaner visited the community of Romans-sur-Isère the same day.
The assailant has now been identified as Abdallah A.Osman, reported to be in his 30s, born in 1987 according to his affidavit. He is in a regular situation in France. The Ofpra – French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons – granted him refugee status on June 29, 2017, and therefore in possession of a 10-year residence permit. Presumably he did not work, but received an allocation for refugees, and social housing.
Witnesses told local press that the assailant appeared to target random pedestrians while moving around empty streets in the center of the town.
“Anyone who had the misfortune to find themselves in his way were attacked,” the town’s mayor, Marie-Helene Thoraval, told AFP.
First assailant entered press-tobacco shop, attacking a man (63), and his wife, both injured, then he left his knife there and headed to a boucher’s shop, where he jumped over the desk to get a bigger knife before killing a client (55); he fled after, and started to search for new victims in the empty streets. Further he injured one more pedestrian (59) next to the supermarket, and a man (44), who opened window shutters. A man (63) and his wife (63), who were walking along the street were next victims of the attack.
Counterterrorism prosecutors have initiated a probe into “murder linked to a terrorist enterprise.”
David Olivier Reverdy, from the National Police Alliance union, said the assailant had called on the police to kill him when they came to arrest him.
“He was found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic,” the prosecutor’s office said in a statement.
President Emmanuel Macron has called it “an odious act“.
The national anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office said that the preliminary investigation has “brought to light a determined, murderous course likely to seriously disturb public order through intimidation or terror.”
France is currently on lockdown as it battles the coronavirus pandemic. People are allowed to go grocery shopping but are encouraged to stay at least two meters (six feet) from others.