French counterterrorism authorities have begun a terrorism investigation into a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.
- The two people wounded suffered critical injuries, according to a police official
- The area was cordoned off and the official said a suspicious package was noticed nearby
- The trial of alleged accomplices in the 2015 attack on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper began this month
Paris police arrested a suspect believed to be responsible for wounding at least two people in the knife attack on Friday.
The terrorism investigation was opened into “attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise,” according to an official at the prosecutor’s office.
The two wounded people suffered critical injuries and were in “absolutely urgent” condition, an official said.
French media reported that the two wounded, a man and a woman, were employees of documentary production company Premieres Lignes and were having a cigarette outside their office when they were attacked.
Premieres Lignes founder Paul Moreira told a French television station that the attacker fled into the metro, and the company’s staff members were evacuated.
Mr Moreira said a man in the street “attacked two people who were in front of the building, didn’t enter the building, and who attacked them…”
He said the company had not received any threats.
Two police sources said a blade was found at the scene — one described the blade as a machete, the other called it a meat cleaver.
A police official said that while authorities initially thought two attackers were involved, they now believed it was only one person, who was detained near the Bastille plaza in eastern Paris.
Police initially announced that four people were wounded in the attack, but the official told The Associated Press that there were in fact only two confirmed wounded.
Police could not explain the discrepancies.
The official said police were still searching the area while they questioned the arrested suspect.
The police official said officers had cordoned off the stabbing scene, including the former Charlie Hebdo offices, after a suspicious package was noticed nearby.
It is unclear what motivated the attack or whether it had any link to Charlie Hebdo, which moved offices after 12 people were killed in an attack by Islamic extremists in 2015.
The trial of alleged accomplices in the 2015 attack began in Paris earlier this month.
The satirical newspaper marked the beginning of the trial by re-running cartoons mocking the prophet Mohammed.