French police officers stand in Paris' Gare du Nord train station after securing the scene of a stabbing spree on Wednesday. Photo by Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA-EFE
Jan. 11 (UPI) -- A man armed with a metal hook went on a stabbing spree at Paris' Gare du Nord train station early Wednesday, injuring six people before being "neutralized" by police, authorities said.
Two men, aged 36 and 41, were injured along with a 46-year-old policeman assigned to the border police unit at the station and three women aged 40, 47, 53. Only the 36-year-old man remained hospitalized, authorities said.
The Paris Prosecutor's Office told UPI in statement that the exact sequence of events was under investigation, but preliminary information states that the suspect, identified as a man from either Libya or Algeria in his 20s, attacked his first victim "for no apparent reason" at about 6:45 a.m. at one of Paris' busiest trains stations.
The victim was struck some 20 times with a weapon authorities described as a sharpened metal hook that had been wrapped with string for grip.
Two police officers opened fire on the suspect, who was shot at least twice, once in the chest and again in his right arm. He has since been hospitalized and is undergoing surgery, the prosecutor's office said.
France's Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin tweeted police had "quickly neutralized" the attacker.
The prosecutor's office said it has opened an investigation into the attack.
It added that the identification of the suspect was ongoing as he has been "registered under several identities in the automated fingerprint file fed by his declarations during previous proceedings to which he has been subjected."
TER Hauts-de-France, a regional rail network of the state-owned SNCF railway company, had said earlier in a statement that police opened fire on the attacker who "was brought under control."
"The emergency services intervened and the person evacuated," it said.
A security perimeter has been erected around the station, which SNCF said continues normal operations.
"Thank you to the police for their effective and courageous response," Darmanin said.
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo had said on Twitter that she was at the station and offered her thoughts to the victims of the attack.
Located in northern Paris, Gare du Nord is one of the city's busiest rail stations that connects to northern France, as well as Germany, Belgium the Netherlands and Britain. According to city statistics, more than 220 million people visit the station every year.
The attack comes weeks after three people were killed and several others were injured in a shooting at a Kurdish community in central Paris on Dec. 23.
A 69-year-old man, described as a retired French national, has been accused of opening fire upon a group of people in front of the Ahmet-Kaya Kurdish Cultural Center on rue d'Enghien.