By IBTISSEM GUENFOUD, ANGUS HINES, and MAGGIE RULLI, ABC News
(PARIS) — France’s counterterror police opened an investigation after a stabbing attack left two wounded in front of the former offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The offices underwent a terror attack in January 2015 that killed 12 people, including eight journalists from Charlie Hebdo.
Two workers from the press agency Premières Lignes are being treated at the hospital after being attacked on Friday morning while on a cigarette break on the street outside the entrance to the office building. According to the director of the agency, the attacker struck the woman in the face before aiming a second blow to her male colleague’s neck. The latter put his arm up to protect himself and was injured in the arm. According to Paris police, neither victims are in life-threatening danger.,
France’s counterterror prosecutor Jean-François Ricard took charge of the case after two suspects were arrested in relation to the attack, including the assailant. Five others have since been placed into custody according to a judicial source.
“A second individual is detained to verify his relations with the main attacker,” Ricard told reporters.
According to the prosecutor, the attack is being treated as terror-related because of the location near the former Charlie Hebdo offices, and the timing. The trial for the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack is currently underway.
Ricard also spoke of the “manifest will” of the suspect “to kill two people that he knew nothing about.”
Editor-in-chief Paul Moreira of Premieres Lignes told ABC News that he believed that the attacker had clearly tried to kill two young employees outside the offices previously shared with Charlie Hebdo.
Premières Lignes have had offices in the building prior to the previous attack in 2015 and had helped their colleagues during that incident.
Charlie Hebdo’s team tweeted its “support and solidarity to its former neighbors and colleagues at Premières Lignes and to those affected by this heinous attack.”
Prime Minister Jean Castex who went to the site of the attack told reporters that “while this attack was carried out in a symbolic place, and at the same time as the trial of the January 2015 attacks is unfolding, I would like to reiterate our unwavering attachment to press freedom, and our absolute determination to fight terrorism.”
The counterterror prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation on charges of assassination attempt in connection with a terrorist enterprise and criminal terrorist association.
“We are still at war with Islamist terrorists,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said live on local channel France2. “I gave instructions that all symbolic sites that have experienced attacks be protected. During this holiday weekend for our Jewish compatriots, I also asked for special protection of the synagogues,” he added.
Darmanin also said that the French armies’ work has helped diminish planned attacks that it’s mostly “isolated persons” who “commit terrorist acts.” He said that 32 attacks were foiled in the last three years; an average of one per month.
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