26 May 2013

Stabbing of soldier in Paris treated as terrorism

9:52 pm on 26 May 2013

French anti-terrorist investigators are handling the case of a soldier stabbed while on duty in Paris on Saturday evening, prosecutors have confirmed.

The soldier was wounded as he patrolled the French capital's La Defense business district with two comrades.

Private First Class Cedric Cordier was approached from behind and stabbed in the neck with a small-bladed knife.

Defence Minister Jean Yves Le Drian told reporters that he had been targeted because of his profession.

His attacker, said to be a bearded man of North African origin, escaped and a police hunt is under way.

President Francois Hollande refused to make any direct link with the killing of a soldier in London on Wednesday, for which two suspected Islamists were arrested.

But the BBC reports that others, like the country's police union spokesperson, Christophe Crepin, say there is a likely connection.

"You don't have to be a great observor to see that people are taking inspiration from acts committed abroad and reproducing them here," said Mr Crepin.

Pfc Cordier was on patrol with colleagues at La Defense's metro and train station, when he was approached from behind and stabbed in the neck with a knife or a box-cutter.

The attacker did not say a word and fled into a crowded shopping area before the two other soldiers who were present were able to react. The soldiers are normally armed with automatic rifles.

A senior police officer said the 23-year-old victim had lost a considerable amount of blood but would survive.