FRANCE — According to French authorities, a French police officer was stabbed as he sat in his patrol car in Cannes, on the French Riviera, early on Monday.
However, even though the officer was protected by his bulletproof vest, and the assailant was quickly apprehended due to a history of terrorist attacks against French police officers, this incident raised alarms.
The interior minister of France, Gérald Darmanin, tweeted, “I am immediately heading there this morning and express my full support for the national police and the city of Cannes.
Alpes-Maritimes lawmaker Éric Ciotti called the attack on Twitter a “terrorist attack,” and several French media outlets quoted anonymous police sources as saying the assailant said he was acting “in the name of the prophet” while carrying out the attack. Ciotti represents Cannes.
However, no official motive for the attack has been announced by French authorities, and the identity of the attacker was not immediately known.
The attack occurred in front of the main police station on Boulevard Carnot, in the heart of Cannes, and the situation was under control, according to local police.
An officer from the Cannes police force fired at the attacker, but no one was killed, according to Cannes Mayor David Lisnard on Twitter.
Mr. Lisnard stated that “the circumstances of the attack” were “being clarified”.
A police car outside the police station where the officer was stabbed, according to reports. The assailant was arrested and he was unharmed. Credit… By way of Reuters, Twitter/Eciotti
It was around 6:30 a.m. when the attacker walked up to the police car and stabbed the officer three times in the chest, according to a French police union official who was not authorised to speak publicly about an ongoing case.
According to a union official, the assailant also attempted to stab another officer who stepped out of the vehicle before being shot multiple times by a third officer in the vehicle and seriously injured.
French security forces have been repeatedly targeted by Islamist terrorists in the past decade.
To the south-west of Paris, a knife-wielding Islamist extremist murdered an officer in April before being shot dead.
Off-duty police officer and police employee were fatally wounded in their home in 2016 by an Islamic State attacker. The following year, a gunman shot and killed a veteran police officer on the Champs-Élysées.
In 2019, a radicalised police officer stabbed four of his colleagues to death at the Paris Police Headquarters in one of the worst attacks on the French police to date.
Attacks by terrorists have also taken a heavy toll on France’s southern coast. There were three deaths last year in Nice, the same city that was terrorised by a truck attack in 2016, when an attacker wielding an axe killed 86 people.
According to French authorities, intelligence and security services have prevented 36 terrorist attacks since 2017.