Police and ambulancemen at the scene
A French woman and her three young daughters were seriously wounded in a knife attack at an Alpine resort on Tuesday by a man who reportedly complained that they were scantily dressed. The man was arrested after the attack at the Alpine resort of Garde-Colombe, near Laragne, in southern France.
The youngest girl, aged 8, was rushed to hospital in Grenoble with a punctured lung, according to initial reports. Her mother, 46, and sisters aged 12 and 14, were being treated at the hospital of Gap, closer to the scene of the attack. Their injuries were serious but not life-threatening, hospital sources said.
Initial reports claimed the man struck because he was angered by the women being “scantily dressed,” but a local prosecutor denied this. Raphaël Balland, prosecutor of Gap, said:
“I wanted to quash the rumour currently doing the rounds because on no account did this man make such comments about the fact that the attack may have been motivated by the victims’ dress code.”
The attacker, named as Mohamed B, 37, “may have acted out of religious motives”, French television channel TF1 reported. Despite the prosecutor’s denial, TF1 reported that he was angry that the girls were wearing shorts. The mother had helped the attacker when he became ill the previous day, TF1 said.
He stabbed the girls while they ate breakfast on the terrace of their chalet and then went inside and knifed their mother. The local mayor, Edmond Francou, said he preferred “not to speculate about the motive of the attack” in the wake of the massacre in Nice last week. The Moroccan-born attacker has a police record for petty crimes over the past 15 years.
He is reported to have been on holiday at the resort with his pregnant wife and two children. The two families were staying next to each other and the assailant’s wife is “devastated”, according to the mayor. The victims of the attack are from Nantes, in western France, and often holidayed at the resort. The attacker is from the Paris area.
Shocked holidaymakers were receiving counselling at the resort.