Two people were injured in a knife attack close to the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris on Friday.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the attack was “clearly an act of Islamist terrorism.”
An 18-year-old man of Pakistani origin, described by officials as the main suspect, was arrested near the scene. Six more people were being questioned.
A major trial is taking place in the French capital over the deadly terror attack at the Charlie Hebdo offices in 2015, in which Islamist extremists burst into the building with rifles and killed 12 people.
In an interview with France 2, Darmanin didn’t explicitly link Friday morning’s violence to Charlie Hebdo, which moved offices after the deadly attacks five years ago, but called it “a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists.”
“It’s the street where Charlie Hebdo used to be. This is the way the Islamist terrorists operate,” he said.
He said the main suspect came to France three years ago and had a previous arrest for carrying a screwdriver but wasn’t known to be radicalized.
The two wounded people—a man and a woman who worked at a TV production company—were smoking outside their office building when they were randomly stabbed with a machete-like knife, colleagues said. They were initially said to be in “absolutely urgent” condition.
The pair worked for documentary film company Premieres Lignes, which took over Charlie Hebdo’s old office building after the 2015 attack, according to its founder Paul Moreira.
One eyewitness to Friday morning’s stabbing attacks reportedly told local radio: “I was in my office. I heard screams in the road. I looked out of the window and saw a woman who was lying on the floor and had taken a whack in the face from what was possibly a machete.”
Another eyewitness, named as Kader Alfa, told the Associated Press: “I saw a guy that was in his thirties or forties with an axe in his hand who was walking behind a victim covered in blood.”
In a statement, Charlie Hebdo wrote: “Charlie’s entire team provides support and solidarity to his former neighbors and colleagues @PLTVfilms and to those affected by this heinous attack.”
Police cordoned off a large area, including the former Charlie Hebdo offices, due to a suspect package being discovered nearby. However, it was reported that no explosives were found upon inspection.
The NYPD’s counterterrorism bureau wrote: “We are closely monitoring a possible terrorist attack near the office of Charlie Hebdo in Paris, France. There is no known nexus to New York City at this time.”