PARIS — Two people were stabbed on Friday morning in central Paris not far from the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical publication where 12 people were killed in a terrorist attack in January 2015.
The attack Friday took place while the French capital is on edge as measures tighten citywide due to the coronavirus pandemic and just three days before Paris Fashion Week is scheduled to start on Monday.
Two people – reportedly employees at the Premières Lignes press agency – were seriously wounded by a man wielding a meat clever. The French government deems it to be an act of terrorism.
The prime suspect is an 18-year-old Pakistan-born man, who reportedly said his actions were linked to the recent republication of the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by Charlie Hebdo that originally sparked anger in numerous countries and al-Qaeda, which claimed the 2015 attack. Eight other people possibly linked to the incident were also being held in custody on Sunday, according to French media.
Charlie Hebdo, which is now headquartered in a secret location, reprinted the cartoons earlier this month as 14 people accused of helping jihadists carry out the attack at the publication and in related Paris attacks five years ago were put on trial.
“A stabbing attack was carried out near the former premises of the weekly Charlie Hebdo,” France’s Prime Minister Jean Castex tweeted on Friday. “I immediately went to [the Interior Ministry] to take stock of the situation with the Minister of the Interior.”
The French police department put out an alert for people to avoid the Richard Lenoir neighborhood in Paris’ 11th arrondissement, not far from the Bastille opera house.
Gérald Darmanin, France’s interior minister, tweeted that security and rescue forces were on site. The surrounding area was shut down.