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Two killed in knife attack in French town under coronavirus lockdown

Two people were killed by a knifeman as shoppers queued outside a bakery in a town in southeastern France.

At least eight others were injured from the attack at around 11am this morning in Romans-sur-Isere, which is currently on lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic. The suspect was arrested by police nearby and is yet to be identified by prosecutors.

Authorities say he had no documents but claimed to be Sudanese and to have been born in 1987. French media reported that the killer first attacked a Romanian resident who had just left home for his daily walk – slitting his throat in front of his girlfriend and son.

The knifeman is then thought to have entered a tobacco shop, stabbed a member of staff and two customers before going into the local butcher’s shop. From there he reportedly grabbed another knife and attacked a shopper with the blunt end before entering a supermarket as people took refuge nearby.

Police later arrested the suspect nearby, French interior minister Christophe Castaner said, thanking shopkeepers for their help.

Mr Castaner said authorities are looking at whether to class the attack in the town of Romans-sur-Isere as an act of terrorism.

He added: ‘It seems that all the risks have been neutralised’.

According to local media, the assailant entered a tobacco shop, stabbed the tobacconist and two customers, and then went into the local butcher’s shop.

He grabbed another knife and attacked a client with the blunt end before entering a supermarket, while some shoppers took refuge in a nearby bakery.

Some 100 police and 45 firefighters were involved in the operation and securing the area, Mr Castaner said.

Like the rest of the France, residents of the town south of Lyon have been told to follow strict lockdown measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

It is likely people caught up in this morning’s attack on a shopping street were stocking up groceries for the week ahead.

There have been a number of knife attacks in France in recent months.

In January, French police shot and injured a man in Metz who was waving a knife and shouting ‘Allahu akbar’. Two days earlier, another man was shot dead by police after he stabbed one person fatally and wounded two others in a Paris suburb.