Paris petanque players lauded for halting knife attacker

Police investigators work on the scene after seven people were wounded in knife attack downtown Paris, France, September 10, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 10 September 2018

Paris petanque players lauded for halting knife attacker

  • Seven injured in attack by an Afghan man in the north-east of the French capital
  • The Paris prosecutors' office is handling the investigation

PARIS: Petanque players in Paris who helped stop a knife-wielding man have been lauded for their bravery as French authorities opened a murder investigation into the attacks, which injured seven people.
People at the scene of Sunday night's attacks in the northeast 19th district helped disarm and arrest the man near a cinema in a recreational area populated by both Parisians and tourists, police said.
Some of those playing boules, also known as petanque, saw what was going on and threw their heavy metallic balls at the attacker — with one hitting his head — before plain-clothes policemen arrested the man.
On Twitter, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb praised the “courage and reactivity” of those who intervened.
A judicial official said the attacker was believed to be an Afghan national. He said terrorist motives were not suspected at this stage.
Paris police said four of the victims were in serious condition, including one with life-threatening injuries. Two British tourists were among those injured.
“The judicial investigation will determine the circumstances,” Collomb said.
Boudjema Hamani said he was playing petanque with two friends when they saw people running and shouting “be careful, he has a knife!”
Hamani and his friends ran after the attacker and threw their petanque balls as he was trying to stab people in the street.
At one point another man, Reda Smain, managed to take the 40-centimeter  knife away from the attacker.
They pushed the man on the ground and overpowered him until police came a few minutes later, Hamani said.
“Of course it's scary. We are human beings, we're not Superman so if we’re stabbed we’re going to die ... But we didn't have time to think about it. We had the (petanque) balls with us, so we had a weapon, like him,” Hamani said.
Smain told French network BFMTV that he struck the attacker's left arm, which was holding the knife.
“I jumped on the knife, took him from his hand,” he said. “Then I fell with him and knocked him out.”


Twelve killed in Indian Kashmir violence amid virus lockdown

Updated 38 min 53 sec ago

Twelve killed in Indian Kashmir violence amid virus lockdown

SRINAGAR: Nine suspected militants and three soldiers were killed in two separate incidents in Indian-administered Kashmir, officials said Sunday, as authorities enforced a lockdown to combat the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Kashmir, a restive region claimed by nuclear rivals India and Pakistan, had already been under a long-running curfew imposed to quell unrest as New Delhi scrapped the Himalayan valley’s semi-autonomous status on August 5.
Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said five armed militants were killed early Sunday in the northern Keran area close to the de facto border known as the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the disputed territory with Pakistan.
The clashes also left three soldiers dead and critically injured several more, he said in a brief statement.
The fighting came within 24 hours of another gunbattle between suspected rebels and government forces in the southern Kulgam area that left four dead.
Police said all four were militants from the local area.
Kashmir has waged a three-decade-long armed rebellion against Indian rule with tens of thousands of lives, mostly civilians, lost in the conflict.
India regularly accuses its arch-rival Pakistan of arming and sending rebels across the heavily militarised border. Islamabad denies the claims.