A man armed with a knife and a metal bar wounded seven people – four of them seriously – when he went on a rampage in central Paris late Sunday. Authorities say that terrorism is not suspected at this time.
The incident occurred at about 11 p.m. local time when the man attacked four people outside a cinema before injuring three others near a canal in the 19th district of the city. One of the victims' injuries are life-threatening, authorities said.
A judicial official, who spoke to the Associated Press on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Monday that authorities have opened an attempted murder investigation.
The official said the attacker is believed to be an Afghan national and that terrorism is not suspected at this stage of the investigation.
People playing the French bowling game pétanque tried to stop the attacker during the assaults.
Youssef Najah, 28, said he was walking beside the canal when he saw a man running with a knife about 10 inches long.
"There were around 20 people chasing him. They started throwing pétanque balls at him," he said, according to the BBC.
"Around four or five balls hit him in the head, but they weren't able to stop him," he said.
The attacker was overpowered and disarmed by people at the scene. He was unconscious when he was arrested and taken to a hospital.
Two of the wounded are British tourists, police said. No details of the other victims were provided.
The banks of the canal are crowded on summer evenings with Parisians and holidaymakers engaging in a variety of leisure activities.
There have been a number of knife attacks in the French capital in recent years, but most of them were not investigated as terrorism.
Contributing: The Associated Press