The Latest: IS claims responsibility for slayings in France
MARSEILLE, France (AP) — The Latest on attack at Marseille’s main train station (all times local):
The Islamic State group is claiming links to a knife attack in the southern French city of Marseille that left two women and the assailant dead.
The claim was carried in a statement Sunday night by the IS-affiliated Aamaq news agency. It said the attacker on Sunday was one of its “soldiers” who acted in response to the group’s calls to target countries involved in the US-led coalition fighting IS in Syria and Iraq.
It did not elaborate on the attacker’s alleged IS links.
French counterterrorism authorities are investigating the attack Sunday at the main Marseille train station and any possible links to Islamic extremism. Two women were stabbed to death and the assailant was shot dead by police.
France has been repeatedly targeted by IS and has been active in the anti-IS coalition since 2014.
France’s national railway company is calling on all passengers to postpone journeys to and from the city of Marseille following the fatal knife attack at the city’s main train station.
The SNCF says the Marseille Saint Charles train station was evacuated after the Sunday’s attack that left two women dead. It was partially reopened in the late afternoon.
French authorities are allowing Marseille train traffic to gradually resume, but the rail company says traffic will remain disrupted all evening.
France’s interior minister says authorities don’t yet know if the Marseille knife attack was of a “terrorist” nature, but reports that some witnesses heard the assailant shouting “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great.”
Collomb said police have video of the Sunday attack at the city’s main train station. He says it shows a man attacking one woman, running away, then coming back and attacking a second woman.
Both women died of their wounds.
The minister says the assailant then ran toward soldiers who were rushing to the scene. The soldiers shot him just outside the train station.
Marseille police are interviewing about 10 witnesses to the attacks.
Collomb declined to provide any details about the suspect or to identify the victims.
French President Emmanuel Macron says he is “deeply outraged” by a “barbarous” knife attack that left two women dead at Marseille’s main train station.
Macron also paid tribute to the French soldiers assigned to domestic security who the president said in a tweet responded with cool heads and efficiency.
The French government this month decided to maintain the military force of 7,000 soldiers that was created to protect sensitive sites after the deadly extremist attacks of 2015
Prime minister Edouard Philippe also praised the soldiers who shot the suspect and stopped the “killing frenzy”
He expressed condolences to the victims’ families and concern for Marseille residents.
French officials say two women have been killed in the attack by a man with a knife at Marseille’s main train station, including one whose throat was slit.
The officials say soldiers then fatally shot the attacker. Police have evacuated the Saint Charles station, with officers and soldiers taking up positions outside.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss an ongoing investigation.
The Paris prosecutors’ office says a counterterrorism probe has been opened, but no motive for the attack has been immediately given.
--By Philippe Sotto and Sylvie Corbet in Paris.
French police have warned people to avoid Marseille’s main train station amid reports of a knife attack.
Marseille police said an operation “is underway” on its official Twitter account. No other details were immediately available.
French television BFM TV says at least one person has been stabbed, and the assailant has been shot dead.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb tweeted that he’s going immediately to the scene “after the attack perpetrated near Saint Charles train station.”
The train station has been evacuated.