French police officer seriously injured in knife attack near Nantes

A man stabbed and seriously wounded a policewoman in the town of La Chapelle-sur-Erdre in western France on Friday, and he later died after a shootout with officers, the national gendarmerie said.

The attacker was cornered after a manhunt involving two police helicopters and more than 200 officers.

There was a shootout when officers came in to arrest the man, police said. He died shortly afterwards and two officers were injured, police added. The stabbed policewoman was in critical condition, BFM TV reported.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin tweeted that he would travel to the site of the attack.

There was no immediate announcement as to the attacker’s motive. The office of the French counter-terrorism prosecutor said it was monitoring the situation but did not lead the investigation for now.

A source close to the investigation told Reuters that the suspect was released from prison in March after a violent conviction. Prison staff said he was radicalized in prison, the source added.

The incident came a month after a female police clerk was stabbed to death near Paris by a Tunisian citizen who watched Muslim religious videos glorifying jihadads just before launching his attack.

On Friday, the attacker stole his victim’s weapon and initially fled in a car before a crash forced him to continue on foot, police said.

He was tracked down and surrounded in a forest near Chapelle-sur-Erdre, the regional newspaper Ouest France reported. He opened fire on officers, a police source said.

In the area north of the city of Nantes, schools were under police protection.

Tackling homeland security is likely to be central to the campaign ahead of next year’s presidential election.

Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right and the strongest challenger to Emmanuel Macron’s expected reelection bid, portrays the president as weak on security and says the police need more protection.

(REUTERS)

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