Paris, April 5 : French authorities have launched a terror probe into a knife attack that left two dead and several others injured in the country's southeastern region.
"The initial investigations show a determined, murderous rampage that sought to disrupt public order through intimidation and terror," the national counter-terrorism prosecutor's office said on Saturday..
A search of the assailant's home turned up writings "of a religious connotation in which the author complains, above all, of living in a country of infidels", Efe news quoted the office as saying.
Though a number of witnesses reported hearing the attacker shout "Allahu akbar" (Arabic for "God is great"), the counter-terrorism police and prosecutors decided to wait for more evidence before classifying the stabbings as a terrorist incident Police identified the perpetrator as a 33-year-old Sudanese man who had resided in France as a refugee since 2017.
The attack began at 10.45 a.m. on Saturday and unfolded at several different spots in the center of Romans-sur-Isere, a town of some 33,000 people 25 km from Valence.
When police caught up with the attacker, about 15 minutes later, they found him on his knees praying in Arabic.
The assailant's roommate is also in custody, authorities said.
"My thoughts go out to the victims of the attack in Romans-sur-Isere, the injured and their families," French President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter after being informed of the incident.
"We will fully investigate this odious act that has added more grief to our country that has already suffered so much over the last few weeks," he added, referring to the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed more than 6,500 lives in France.
To slow the spread of COVID-19, the French government has ordered people to remain in their homes as much as possible, only venturing out to buy necessities, seek medical attention or exercise.
Interior Minister, Christophe Castaner, planned to travel to Romans-sur-Isere to make a first-hand appraisal of the situation.