Afghan Man Wielding a 16-inch Knife Injures Seven People in Brutal Attack

A man brandishing a 16-inch knife has injured seven people in an attack next to a Parisian canal. The man of Afghan origin was also armed with an iron bar when he attacked people outside the MK2 cinema complex by the Quai de Loire in the 19th district, Le Parisien reported.

Two British tourists were injured, one stabbed in the head and the other knifed in the chest, in the attack which occurred in the northeast of the city at around 11pm on Sunday, France's BFMTV reported.

Locals playing the boules game pétanque threw steel balls at the attacker to try to stop him. He was later arrested.

One witness told BFMTV: "You could see people lying on the ground, blood, and a guy running with a knife that was about 40 centimeters long. Then, a policeman shouted 'step aside! step aside!'"

Eyewitness Youssef Najah, 28, said he was walking beside the canal when he saw a man running with the knife. "There were around 20 people chasing him. They started throwing pétanque balls at him. Around four or five balls hit him in the head, but they weren't able to stop him," BBC reported.

No motive has been found yet for the attack and police have opened an attempted murder investigation into the assailant who was unknown to police.

The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, tweeted: "I want to thank the police anti-crime squad for their swift action and professionalism. By challenging the attacker, they ensured there weren't more victims. I also commend the passersby who acted bravely and came to the help of the injured."

A French police source said that there was nothing to indicate that it could be a terrorist attack, Le Parisien reported.

The UK Foreign Office said in a statement: "We are urgently investigating this incident and are in close contact with the French authorities."

France has seen a number of knife attacks recently although they have not been linked to terrorism. On August 23, police shot dead a man who stabbed his mother and sister to death near Paris. Earlier the same month, an Afghan asylum seeker was arrested in the town of Perigueux after he knifed four people in a drunken rampage, The Guardian reported.