Acid attack at French train station shows no signs of ties to terror groups

A woman who attacked four women from the United States with acid in Marseille, France, on Sunday did not appear to have ties to terror organizations, authorities said.

The attacker, who sprayed acid at passersby near the city’s Saint Charles rail station, seemed unbalanced and was not targeting anyone in particular, authorities said.

Police said the suspect, who was arrested, made no threats or declarations during and there was no evidence it was terror-linked.

Of the four women who were attacked and taken to the hospital, two were injured in the face, with one reportedly suffering an eye injury, and two were treated for shock. Their identities were not immediately available.

Marseille public prosecutor Xavier Tarabeux told reporters about the victims’ injuries.

“One of the women has hazy vision but the injuries are superficial and not irreversible,” Tarabeux told France 3 television.

The four victims were reportedly studying in Paris and were visiting Marseille for the weekend. They were at the station on their way back to the French capital when they were attacked at about 11 a.m.

A spokeswoman for the prosecutor’s office said the suspect was known for robberies and had received psychiatric treatment. Her name was not released Sunday.

The woman told arresting police: “I just lost it” and told law enforcement officers she had been the victim of an acid attack and wanted others to suffer as she had, according to France 3 television and La Provence newspaper.

A spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Paris said French authorities were keeping its consulate in Marseille informed on the progress of the investigation and the condition of the victims.

The port city of Marseille is on France’s Mediterranean coast. Last month, a driver rammed into people waiting at two city bus stops, killing a woman; police said the driver was suffering psychological problems and had no terror links.

Sunday’s attack came as a second suspect was arrested in Britain following an explosion on the London subway during morning rush-hour Friday. British home secretary Amber Rudd said police had made “good progress” in their investigation into the attack and announced the U.K. threat level was reduced from “critical” to “severe.”

“Severe still means that an attack is highly likely, so I would urge everybody to continue to be vigilant but not alarmed,” Rudd said.

An explosive device went off partially in a subway car at a west London station on Friday morning, injuring 29 people. Police said the homemade bomb, placed in a plastic bucket and bag, had failed to explode properly.

An 18-year-old man was arrested in the departure area of the ferry port of Dover, where boats leave for France, on Saturday morning. A second suspect, 21, was arrested in London late Saturday.

On Sunday morning, a British Airways aircraft was evacuated at airport in Paris for security reasons. Passengers were told a “direct threat” had been made against the plane.

The aircraft took off several hours later for London after passengers and luggage were removed from the aircraft and checked.

Willsher is a special correspondent.

UPDATES:

12:55 p.m.: This article was updated throughout with Times reporting.

This article was originally published at 9:35 a.m.

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