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Terror investigation launched after attacks near former Charlie Hebdo offices
Terror investigation launched after attacks near former Charlie Hebdo offices avatar

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French terrorism authorities are investigating an attack that wounded two journalists near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Emergency services were called to the scene in Rue Nicolas Appert, in the 11th arrondissement, near the Richard Lenoir Metro station, at around 11.40am local time.

Image: French firefighters load one of the several people injured into a waiting ambulance

Prime Minister Jean Castex, who went to the scene, said two people who work for documentary film company Premieres Lignes were seemingly attacked at random while they were having a cigarette break.

One witness told Europe 1 radio: "I was in my office. I heard screams in the road. I looked out of the window and saw a woman who was lying on the floor and had taken a whack in the face from what was possibly a machete."

Kader Alfa, another witness, told Associated Press: "I saw a guy that was in his 30s or 40s with an axe in his hand who was walking behind a victim covered in blood…I can't tell you how many victims there was, I just saw one."

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Paul Moreira, who is the founder of Premieres Lignes, confirmed two of his colleagues were injured.

He said: "It's somebody who was in the road with a meat cleaver who attacked them in front of our offices. It was chilling."

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Mr Castex said the main attacker had been arrested, a second person was in custody and that the victims' injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

Emergency services flocked to the scene in the 11th arrondissement
Image: Emergency services flocked to the scene in the 11th arrondissement

"This attack happened in a symbolic place at the same time as the trial of the terrible attacks on Charlie Hebdo," he added.

He promised the government's "unfailing attachment to freedom of the press, and its determination to fight terrorism".

A blade found at the scene was described by police sources as a machete or a meat cleaver.

Armed officers were seen patrolling the road after the attack on Friday
Image: Armed officers were seen patrolling the road after the attack on Friday

Europe 1 Radio quoted police officials as saying the main suspect was 18 and was known to security services.

The incident comes three weeks after 14 people, who have suspected links to homegrown Islamist militants, went on trial following the Charlie Hebdo attack in the same street.

A total of 12 people died and 11 people were injured after two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, stormed the offices of the satirical weekly newspaper with guns and began shooting in January 2015.

The brothers escaped and were later shot dead by police after a stand-off.

The motive for the latest stabbing is unclear, and it is not known whether it is linked to Charlie Hebdo, which has now moved out of the area.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex (centre) speaks to journalists with the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (right) and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo (left)
Image: French Prime Minister Jean Castex (centre) speaks to journalists with the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin (right) and Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo (left)

On the opening day of the trial, the magazine re-ran a series of cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed, which Muslims consider blasphemous.

The trial, which will see the attackers' widows testify, was still set to go ahead this afternoon.

The writers of Charlie Hebdo showed their solidarity with the victims of the attack on Friday.

They posted on Twitter: "Charlie's entire team provides support and solidarity to his former neighbours and colleagues @PLTVfilms and to those affected by this heinous attack."

Toute l'équipe de Charlie apporte son soutien et sa solidarité à ses anciens voisins et confrères @PLTVfilms et aux personnes touchées par cette odieuse attaque.

— Charlie Hebdo (@Charlie_Hebdo_) September 25, 2020

Since the Charlie Hebdo mass shooting, France has faced several other terrorist attacks.

In November 2015, there were a series of bombings in Paris and a mass shooting at the Bataclan music venue during an Eagles of Death Metal concert. A total of 130 people died and more than 400 were said to be injured.

Eight months later, in July 2016, an Islamist militant drove a truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, which killed 86 people and injured more than 450.

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