An attacker in France slightly injured two elementary school students with a knife and terrified an entire town near Strasbourg.

After the attack in Souffelweyersheim, a suspect was arrested, the public prosecutor’s office in the Alsace metropolis said. The man, aged around 30, was taken into police custody. The two students, aged seven and eleven, suffered superficial cuts. They were able to leave the University Hospital in Strasbourg after a short treatment.

The attacker’s motive was initially unknown. As the public prosecutor announced in the evening, there was no evidence of radicalization of the perpetrator or a terrorist background for the crime. According to initial findings, the man was suffering from psychological problems.

The perpetrator suddenly stabbed the student in the neck

After the elementary school’s lunch break at around 2 p.m., the attacker suddenly stabbed the eleven-year-old in the neck at the entrance and ran away while the school alerted the police. As he fled, the man crossed the path of a mother with her seven-year-old daughter, whom he stabbed in the neck. Gendarmerie officers pursued the perpetrator and arrested him shortly afterwards, although he resisted, the public prosecutor’s office said.

During the police operation, the remaining students initially had to stay in the school, which was locked for security reasons, while their parents waited outside. Medical and psychological help was organized for the affected school and the waiting parents were informed about the incident. The authorities emphasized that the perpetrator did not break into the school.

The minister speaks of an intolerable act

Education Minister Nicole Belloubet assured the girls and their families of her full support. β€œIn view of this new intolerable act, a decisive response must be taken immediately.” Security measures would be taken and psychological support would be organized.

A serious incident occurred in an adjacent middle school, which was also cordoned off due to the threat. According to the public prosecutor’s office, a 14-year-old student suffered a cardiac arrest during this time. After first aid on site, the student was taken to a Strasbourg clinic in a threatening condition.

The highest terror alert level currently applies in France and schools have been given special protection for a long time. β€œI panicked, I immediately thought of my son,” a mother told broadcaster BFMTV outside the school. “It hurts to know that something like this can happen in a school.” In mid-October, an Islamist-radicalized former student stabbed a teacher at a high school in Arras, northern France.