- Two people have been wounded in a knife attack near the offices of Charlie Hebdo.
- It is unclear at this stage what inspired the attack.
- An eyewitness reported "hearing screams in the road"
At least two people have been wounded in a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex confirmed the incident on Friday, which police are treating as a "terror" attack. France’s National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) has taken over the investigation.
Police cordoned off the area including the former Charlie Hebdo offices, after a suspect package was noticed nearby.
It was unclear what motivated the attack or whether it was linked to Charlie Hebdo.
Paul Moreira, journalist at Premiere Lignes, a production company which is in the same building as the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, said he does not think the suspect "came here by chance".
"Everything happened in the street. A guy with a kind of butcher’s knife threw himself at a young woman who was in front of the building entrance, then at a boy who was also in front of the building smoking a cigarette." Moreira told France Info.
A witness told Europe 1 radio:
A Paris police official said that while authorities initially thought two attackers were involved, they now believe it was only one person.
Paris police said one person was arrested near the Bastille opera house, but cautioned that his profile did not match a witness description. A second suspect was arrested near the Richard Lenoir metro station, near the site of the attack.
Police initially announced that four people were wounded, but later confirmed there were two victims. One is believed to be seriously injured.
Nearby schools were placed under lockdown, with parents told not to pick up their children.
Manuel Valls, former Prime Minister under Francois Hollande, tweeted: “My emotion following the stabbing attack near the former premises of Charlie Hebdo. Feeling of reliving a nightmare. My support and solidarity with the wounded and their loved ones. Waiting for the details of the investigation more than ever #JeSuisToujoursCharlie (I am always Charlie).”
The attack comes three weeks after 14 people with suspected links to homegrown fighters who attacked the Charlie Hebdo offices in January 2015, killing 12 people, went on trial in Paris.
The court heard that they had sought to avenge the Prophet Mohammed, nearly a decade after the weekly published cartoons mocking him.
The magazine moved offices after the 2015 attack.