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Woman yelling 'Allahu akbar' slashes two with blade in France

Monday, June 18, 2018

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MARSEILLE, France (AFP) — Two people were hurt in a town in southern France on Sunday when a veiled woman shouting “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) attacked them in a supermarket with a boxcutter knife, prosecutors said.

A customer was struck in the chest during the late-morning assault in La Seyne-sur-Mer, outside the Mediterranean port of Toulon, but the wound is not life-threatening, prosecutor Bernard Marchal told AFP.

A woman working at a checkout counter was also injured, though not as seriously. Both victims were taken to hospital.

“It appears to be an isolated case by a person with known psychological problems,” Marchal said, “though that doesn't exclude the possibility that she may have been radicalised.”

France has been on high alert following a string of jihadist attacks since early 2015, often by people who have become radicalised or claim to have acted in the name of the Islamic State group.

The 24-year-old assailant, who was dressed in black and wore dark sunglasses, did not have a police record.

She was overpowered by a customer and two supermarket employees and was taken into custody.

“I grabbed her wrists to get hold of the cutter,” said the customer who gave only his first name, Sebastien.

“I asked her 'Why did you do it?' She did not answer.”

The woman “was in a panic, she was afraid, she did not understand what was happening to her, she had no strength left”, Sebastien said.

Police later searched her home to determine if she had any links to the Islamic State group.

“We don't yet know if this is a terrorist act, but in any case it was terrifying,” Marchal said.

More than 240 people have been killed in jihadist attacks since the massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris in January 2015.

Last month a knifeman shouting “Allahu akbar” killed one person and wounded four others during a Saturday night attack in central Paris.

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