Two women killed by man with knife at French train station

Two women were killed Sunday in a knife attack at Marseille's St. Charles railway station, police said.

Police video is said to show the suspect stabbing one woman, disappearing, and re-emerging moments later to attack his second victim.

The man was also killed, by soldiers deployed as part of Operation Sentinel, the military programme that assigns troops to guard busy public places such as schools, tourist sites and stations.

"We have until now managed to avoid such dramatic incidents [in Marseille]".

The suspect, shot dead by police after Sunday's attack, was identified by his fingerprints.

A killing spree in Nice in July 2016 left 86 people dead when an extremist drove a truck into crowds after a fireworks display on Bastille Day. Both of these attacks were claimed by Isil. Other countries, including Britain, Germany and Belgium, have also suffered attacks using knives, guns, explosives and vehicles.

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Police in Marseille evacuated the St. Charles station, the city's largest, and French Interior Minister GĂ©rard Collomb said he was heading to the scene. One victim's throat was slit, and the other was stabbed in the stomach. "That's when I heard two shots fired", he was quoted as saying. "It must have been the soldiers".

There was screaming and shouting, and people were running everywhere, ' said one witness. Don't stay in the station. I thought, 'I'm dreaming, it's a nightmare.' And then he started to shout "Allahu Akbar", and I didn't try to comprehend it, I ran away.

"This act could be terrorist in nature, but at this time we cannot confirm it", Collomb said at a press briefing in front of the station.

The deaths came with France still on high alert and in a state of emergency following a string of attacks in recent years by extremists linked to Islamic State or al-Qaeda. The security forces are working to minimise the threat of attack. This year alone there were six attacks, including an assault by a man wielding a machete at the Louvre in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in a French-language post on Twitter that he was "deeply disgusted" by the attack.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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