20240204 paris
A soldier, right, patrols inside the Gare de Lyon station after an attack in Paris. A man injured three people Saturday in a stabbing attack at the major Gare de Lyon train station in Paris. Image Credit: AFP

Paris: A man who wounded three in a Saturday knife attack at a busy Paris station was returned to police custody on Sunday after being held in a psychiatric service, prosecutors said.

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The attacker, a 32-year-old Malian citizen, launched his stabbing spree at 7:35 am (0635 GMT) on Saturday at the Gare de Lyon train station in central Paris, which operates domestic trains as well as those heading to Switzerland and Italy.

Passers-by had overpowered the man before railway police arrived on the scene, a police source said.

The attacker had been sent to the police psychiatric service after it appeared his mental state made him unfit for questioning.

Investigators told AFP that the man who suffered the gravest wounds in the attack was still in danger for his life.

He had suffered life-threatening injuries to the abdomen while two others were lightly wounded, Paris police prefect Laurent Nunez told reporters on Saturday. A fourth person went into shock after witnessing the assaults.

The stabbings took place less than six months before Paris hosts the 2024 Olympic Games when 15 million visitors are expected in the city.

Saturday's attacker had papers showing he had lived legally in Italy since 2016 - giving him the right to travel to France - and had no criminal record.

"He had been in the Turin province, where he was undergoingafp treatment at a mental health centre," Italy's national police said in a phone interview on Sunday.

French police said the man had told them he suffered from "psychiatric problems" and was carrying medicine.

The motives for the stabbings remained unclear, although videos posted to a TikTok account in the attacker's name made reference to France's past military operation in Mali.

The Paris prosecutors office has opened an inquiry into the attack, while the national anti-terrorist prosecutor on Saturday said it was observing proceedings at this stage.

Each year more than 100 million passengers go through the Gare de Lyon, France's biggest mainline rail hub.