A counter-terrorism investigation has been launched in France after two people were seriously injured in a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
Paris police headquarters said the victims’ lives were not in danger, and that no one else was wounded.
A man reportedly wearing bloodstained clothing and carrying a large knife or machete was detained near the Place de la Bastille in eastern Paris shortly after the attack, police said. French media reported a second suspect had been arrested near the Richard Lenoir metro station.
All schools in the area were placed in lockdown as a security measure. A suspicious package found in the area was examined by police scientists and found not to contain any explosive device.
France’s counter-terrorism prosecutors’ office said it had opened an investigation into attempted murder in relation to a terrorist enterprise. A crisis control centre was opened at the interior ministry.
France Info radio said the victims were a man and a woman employed by a TV production company Premières Lignes based in the same building as the newspaper’s former offices. Other staff said they were standing outside when they were attacked by a man wielding a knife.
Early reports said four people had been wounded, but police later amended the figure to two.
It is unclear what motivated the attack on Friday morning. Charlie Hebdo has moved from its previous address on the Rue Nicolas-Appert since an attack by Islamist extremists in 2015 in which several of its editorial staff, including some of France’s best-known cartoonists, were among 12 people killed.
The trial of 14 suspects accused of involvement in the Charlie Hebdo killings, carried out by brothers Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, and in a subsequent attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket, is currently under way in Paris.
The magazine republished controversial cartoons of the prophet Muhammad, which it first printed in 2006, to mark the start of the trial, saying in an editorial it would “never lie down … We will never give up.”
An employee from the TV production company who asked not to be identified said she had arrived at work shortly after 9.30am and just sat at her desk when she heard shouting from the street.
“At first it didn’t sound like it was anything bad, but it carried on,” the employee said. “One of the journalists went to the window and looked out and said: ‘There’s something going on. Something’s happening.’”
Many of the company’s staff had experienced the Charlie Hebdo attack five years ago and were “in shock”, she said.
“They said we must lock the office doors and go up on to the roof. That’s where I looked down and saw one of our colleagues, wounded but alive, in the street. He had been wounded in the head and the hand, I believe.”
The employee said the building had since been evacuated. Staff had been interviewed by police and were now waiting in a nearby theatre to hear when they could leave. “Everyone is very shaken,” she said.
News – Two injured in knife attack near Charlie Hebdo’s former offices in Paris