A Syrian asylum seeker has been arrested Thursday morning after a horrific knife attack at a French Alpine town playground left four children aged 22 months to 3 years and two adults with life-threatening injuries.
The attack took place in a lakeside park in the French Alpine town of Annecy.
A video of the attack shows the knife-wielding Syrian refugee wearing a head-covering and chasing victims around the playground as bystanders can be heard screaming.
Adults in the video can be seen trying to fend off the attacker—one man hitting him with a backpack—before he leaned over a stroller and stabbed downward repeatedly.
The Syrian man at one point in the video appears to say “On the name of Jesus Christ,” waving the knife above his head.
Three of the children remain in critical condition following the attack.
French police identified the suspect as a 31-year-old Syrian asylum seeker.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted praise for the rapid response of police in arresting the suspect.
“Several people including children were injured by an individual armed with a knife in a square in Annecy,” Darmanin said. “The individual was arrested thanks to the very rapid intervention of the police.”
French President Emmanuel Macron described the attack on Twitter as an “attack of absolute cowardice.”
“The Nation is in shock,” Macron said. “Our thoughts are with them as well as their families and the emergency services mobilized”
The motive for the attack is currently unknown as authorities continue to investigate the incident.