Authorities in the French city of Montpellier have arrested a 26-year-old illegal migrant from Eritrea in connection with the stabbing of a 47-year-old woman on Monday.
The woman, who had been sitting on a terrace on the Charles-de-Gaulle esplanade in the center of the city late on Monday morning, was with her 38-year-old sister and 2-year-old niece when she was approached by her assailant and stabbed in her side, according to news outlet 20 Minutes.
The attacker reportedly also attempted to strike the victim’s sister who was saved after a number of bystanders intervened. The victim was transported to a hospital in Saint-Jean-de-Védas with serious but non-life-threatening injuries.
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The alleged attacker reportedly became angry when the woman turned down his marriage proposal
Authorities arrived at the scene and immediately arrested the 26-year-old attacker, a male of Eritrean nationality without a French residence permit.
“We will show no weakness vis-à-vis offenders, especially when they are in an irregular situation and have no business being on French territory,” the prefect of Hérault, Hugues Moutouh, said following the attack in a press release; he expressed his “indignation and condemns, with the greatest seriousness, the knife attack thatt took place in the center of Montpellier.”
“In accordance with the instructions of the minister of the interior, everything will be done so that the law applies in all its rigor and that at the end of his sentence, this foreigner is expelled,” he added.
Moutouh confirmed that a judicial inquiry has been launched into the attack and vowed that “zero tolerance” would be afforded “to foreigners who constitute a threat to public safety and tranquility.”