At least six people were injured in an attack at Paris’s Gare Du Nord train station early Wednesday morning, limiting access to one of the French capital’s main rail hubs.
According to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmani, one person started attacking people at 6:42 am local time and was neutralized a minute later. Darmanin said at the press conference that the person was neutralized by off-duty policemen and border police who went home.
Darmanin added that the attacker made the weapon himself. Paris police said earlier that the man began attacking people with a knife at 6:45 a.m. local time.
Several police officers, including a security agent working for rail operator SNCF, opened fire, police said. Multiple shots were fired and the alleged assailant was wounded.
The spokesman of the Paris Prosecutor’s Office said that six people were injured, including an employee of the French border police. One of the injured is in serious condition. The press secretary said that the condition of the suspect is serious.
According to the Paris Prosecutor’s Office, the motive for the knife attack is unknown.
France’s National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office said it was “assessing the facts” of the attack but had not yet taken the case. The fact that the suspected attacker was injured could extend the time needed to assess the facts of the case, the office added.
Darmanin arrived at Gare du Nord shortly after the attack on Wednesday morning. Earlier, he wrote on Twitter that the alleged attacker injured several people before being “quickly neutralized”.
“Thank you to the police for their effective and courageous response,” Darmanin tweeted.
CNN affiliate BFMTV interviewed a woman identified as Lily who witnessed the attack and helped the injured victims.
“My friends and I were going on holiday this morning and we were at the station entrance when we heard people screaming,” he said.
“We saw two people on the ground. One was hitting the other. People tried to separate them and the attacker pulled out his gun. People shout “knife!” they started shouting. and started running. I helped the first victim who was attacked and I got the impression that the person was attacking everyone who tried to get close to him and overpower him.
“I helped the injured person who was attacked and was in a state of shock. I brought them to the police and then I tried to find my friends and that’s when we heard the gunshots. The armed forces responded to the attack very quickly. It didn’t even take five minutes, even though it felt like an eternity to me.
“We were all shocked by what we saw. We were two meters apart. It could have been one of us since we were so close. It’s very traumatic.”
According to CNN’s team at the station, several hundred people converged on the main concourse of the Gare Du Nord station, many looking for information about trains after the attack.
Several dozen police officers were deployed around the security perimeter, blocking off a large portion of the station’s main concourse and blocking access to several intercity train platforms, according to a CNN team. Access to the Eurostar terminal has reopened after being closed for several hours.
Police screens obscured the scene of the attack, but officers could be seen collecting evidence in paper bags.
As residents of Paris began to relax after several years of heightened tension over terror attacks, Wednesday’s incident, which French authorities are not currently investigating as terror-related, was the second in two months. In December, a man who was then being investigated by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office for racist violence was shot dead. three Kurdish activists North of Paris.
Nevertheless, the atmosphere at Gare du Nord was calm at lunchtime on Wednesday, and commuters seemed hopeful that they would be able to catch their trains.
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