A terrorist inquiry was opened today after a knifeman shouting ‘religious slogans’ was shot and wounded after attacking three police officers in the French seaside resort of Cannes.
The attack happened shortly after 6am this morning when the man threatened staff outside the main Police Commissariat in the town ‘in the name of the Prophet’.
The attacker was described by officers as an Algerian national aged 37, with no police record. Police said he was an immigrant to France who arrived from Algeria via Italy and ‘wanted to kill a cop’.
A terrorist inquiry was opened today after an Algerian knifeman, 37, shouting ‘religious slogans’ pulled open the door of a police car and started stabbing officers
Forensic officers combed the scene of the stabbing near the police station in the French seaside resort town of Cannes for evidence after announcing they would open a terror probe
Officers stand guard at a security perimeter around the police station in Cannes after an attempted stabbing around 6am this morning
Laurent Martin de Fremont, a local police union official, said: ‘The attacker got police to open their car window by saying he wanted information.
‘He then launched a ferocious attack, aiming for an officer’s chest. He was saved thanks to his bullet proof vest.
‘The officer’s clothes and vest were in a catastrophic state afterwards. This shows how determined the attacker was.
‘The bulletproof vest was torn apart down to the metal plate. In other words, we’re dealing with someone who wanted to kill a cop.’
The attacker was from the Algerian port of Skikda, and entered France through Italy.
‘He obtained a residence permit in Italy and he came to France to commit his crime,’ said David Lisnard, the Mayor Cannes.
Laurent Martin de Fremont, a local police union official, said: ‘The attacker got police to open their car window by saying he wanted information’
The attack took place around 6am this morning outside the main Police Commissariat in the French seaside resort of Cannes
A file photograph of the main Police Commissariat in the French seaside resort of Cannes
An investigating source added the assailant ‘pulled open a car door and started stabbing. The driver of the car tried to pull away, while another on the back seat of the car opened fire, and the man was severely wounded.
‘He had been shouting religious slogans referring to the Prophet throughout the attack. The knifeman is now in a critical condition in a hospital in Cannes.’
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted: ‘A policeman from the Cannes was stabbed and wounded.
‘The assailant was neutralised by his colleagues. I am going there immediately this morning and I give all my support to the National Police and to the town of Cannes.’
He later confirmed the stabbed officer was not injured because he was wearing a bulletproof vest.
Lisnard said: ‘One of the officers responded with his gun.
‘There are no deaths and the circumstances of the attack are being clarified.’
Both officials confirmed that specialist anti-terrorism magistrates were now leading the enquiry.
The attack in Cannes comes as worries over violent crime and terrorism feature among voters’ main concerns, in the run-up to the 2022 French Presidential election.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted that a policeman was stabbed and wounded
David Lisnard, the mayor of Cannes, said one of the officers ‘responded with his gun’
The shooting follows a series of bomb, gun and knife attacks carried out by Islamic State and Al Qaeda operatives in France, dating back to early 2015.
The deadliest single terrorist attack ever in the country came in November 2015 when 130 people were killed in Paris.
Suicide bombers pledging allegiance to ISIS targeted the Stade de France, cafes, restaurants and the Bataclan music venue, where 90 died.
Earlier in the year, two Paris-born gunmen linked to Al Qaeda broke into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, leaving 17 people dead inside and three outside.
In July 2016, 86 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a 19 tonne truck was deliberately driven into crowds on the seafront promenade at Nice, which is just 20 miles from Cannes.
2015: Soldiers evacuate victims after the terror attack in Paris in November which saw suicide bombers target the Stade de France, cafes, restaurants and the Bataclan
The terrorist turned out to be a Tunisian immigrant who was shot dead by police.
During the same month, two Isis terrorists murdered an 86-year-old Catholic priest during a church service in Normandy.
And in October last year, three people were stabbed to death by a Tunisian immigrant in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice.
There have also been frequent knife attacks on the forces of law and order, leading to the deaths of serving police.
2016: 86 people were killed and more than 400 injured when a 19 tonne truck was deliberately driven into crowds on the seafront promenade at Nice