According to reports out of France on Saturday, an unidentified man armed with a knife started stabbing people in central Paris, resulting in several injuries. According to The New York Times, the incident took place in a neighborhood close to the Palais Garnier opera house.
According to reporting from the BBC, multiple people have been confirmed dead as a result of the attack, although that figure includes the attacker himself. Police reportedly attempted to subdue the attacker with a taser, but when that wasn't successful, they fired two shots at him, killing him.
The French authorities did not immediately released any statement regarding the intent or motivations of the attacker, if indeed any exists. This is far from the first time that a violent mass stabbing has taken place in the French capital ― just months ago, in February, a reported six victims were stabbed in a similar incident near a Eurostar station in the city's 18th arrondissement.
In this case, the stabbings took place in the city's second arrondissement, close to the Paris opera district. Two people injured in the attack are reportedly in serious condition, although more specific details about the state of the wounded have not yet been released.
According to reports, multiple people were non-fatally injured as a result of the knife attack, although considering there have been reports of serious injuries, it remains to be seen whether the death toll climbs any higher. It's important to remember that precise information can be difficult to confirm in the aftermath of unexpected, violent events like these, and initial reports are often later proven misleading or incorrect. In short, clarity is often much more easily achieved after some time has passed from the initial incident.
According to a tweet from the Paris police on Saturday, two people are dead ― the attacker and one of his victims ― while two more are "seriously" injured, and two more "slightly" injured. There still hasn't been any word as to what motivated the attack, although that's not necessarily surprising; law enforcement authorities are often reluctant to jump the gun on public statements regarding motive.
Gerard Collomb, the interior minister of France, addressing the grisly stabbing attack on Twitter, praising the police for "neutralizing" the attacker.
"My first thoughts are for the victims in this odious attack," Collomb said, according to CNN.
The attack comes the same week as current and former French officials voiced outrage at President Donald Trump, for his recent mention of the hyper-deadly Bataclan terrorist attack in 2015. Trump, speaking before a convention of the National Rifle Association, insisted that the attack would've been less deadly if not for France's stout gun control laws, and made a gesture mimicking the shooting of French civilians.
Former French president Francois Hollande denounced Trump for the statement, calling it "shameful" and "obscene," and the French foreign office released a statement expressing similar sentiments.
"France expresses its firm disapproval of President Trump's comments about the Paris attacks on Nov. 13, 2015 and demands that the memory of the victims be respected," the statement said. "Every country freely decides on its own laws on carrying firearms, as in other areas. France is proud to be a country where acquiring and carrying firearms is strictly regulated."
It remains to be seen whether the French authorities will release any additional information about the attacker, whether relating to his identity or his possible motivations. What's already clear, however, is that the attack created a fearful and chaotic scene in the Parisian opera district, and at least two of the injured victims are reportedly still in serious condition.