French soldiers guarding Jewish community center stabbed
Three French soldiers were wounded while guarding a Jewish community center in Nice; one attacker arrested, 2 still on run weeks after deadly Paris shootings; Nice Mayor says attacker had an ID with surname Coulibaly - the same as terrorist behind kosher supermarket attack.
Three soldiers conducting an anti-terror patrol in a Jewish center in the southern French city of Nice were attacked by a man with a knife Tuesday, a French police union official said.
Local reports said the three were guarding the Jewish Consistory of Nice, a local Jewish radio called Radio Shalom and the local Israeli association.
Police Union official Sarah Baron said the extent of the soldiers' injuries is not yet clear. She said the attacker was detained but two people with him are believed to have fled after the stabbing in the city center, near the Galeries Lafayette department store.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker had an identity card with the name Moussa Coulibaly.
The surname, which is relatively common for families of Malian descent, is the same as that of the man who seized hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris and gunned down a policewoman last month.
France has been on high alert since the attacks in the Paris region by three Islamic extremists that left 20 people dead, including the gunmen. More than 10,000 soldiers have been deployed around the country to protect sensitive locations, including major shopping areas, synagogues, mosques and transit hubs.
Patrols guarding Jewish schools and embassies have been stepped up across France in wake of the deadly Paris shooting at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.
Earlier Tuesday, French authorities arrested seven men and a woman suspected of involvement in a network to send fighters to join Islamic extremists in Syria.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said those arrested in the Paris and Lyon areas are not suspected of links to the Jan. 7-9 attacks.
Police are trying to thwart new violence and find possible accomplices of the three radical Islamic gunmen who attacked the kosher grocery and newspaper Charlie Hebdo. The men claimed allegiance to extremists in the Mideast.
Three of those arrested Tuesday had traveled to Syria and returned in December 2014, a French official said, though it was unclear whether they joined the Islamic State group or another group.
The network began sending French fighters to Syria in May 2013, and at least one of them was killed there, the official said. Other members of the network are still in Syria.
The group did not appear to be involved in any particular plot, or linked to any other networks already broken up in France in recent months, said the official, who was not authorized to be publicly identified discussing security matters.
France has seen hundreds of homegrown radicals join extremists abroad, most linked to the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
Cazeneuve said recent atrocities by the Islamic State group - including the killing of a Japanese hostage - "only strengthen the government's determination to fight terrorism every day and every hour."
French authorities have come under criticism for being overzealous in cracking down on potential threats since the attacks, arresting dozens for comments seen as defending terrorism and even questioning an 8-year-old boy.