French train station acid attack not a terror act: officials
4 American students who suffered facial injuries during attack in Marseille identified
Four young American tourists were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in the French city of Marseille, but French authorities so far do not think extremist views motivated the 41-year-old woman who was arrested as the alleged assailant, the local prosecutor's office said.
Two of the female tourists suffered facial injuries during the late morning attack at Marseille's Saint Charles train station and one of the two also had a possible eye injury, a spokesperson for the Marseille prosecutor's office told The Associated Press in a phone call.
She said all four of the women, who are in their 20s, were hospitalized, two of them for shock. The suspect was taken into police custody.
The spokesperson spoke on condition of anonymity, per the custom of the French judicial system, without releasing more details about the victims, including where in the U.S. the tourists live.
The Paris prosecutor's office said that its counter-terrorism division has decided for the time being not to assume jurisdiction for investigating the attack. The prosecutor's office in the capital, which has responsibility for all terror-related cases in France, did not explain the reasoning behind the decision.
The spokesperson for the Marseille prosecutor's office said the suspect did not make any extremist threats or declarations during the attack. She said there were no obvious indications that the woman's actions were terror-related.
The Marseille fire department was alerted just after 11 a.m. and dispatched four vehicles and 14 firefighters to the train station, a department spokesperson said.
Two of the Americans were "slightly injured" with acid but did not require emergency medical treatment from medics at the scene, the spokesperson said. She requested anonymity in keeping with fire department protocol.
Regional newspaper La Provence, quoting unidentified police officials, reported that the suspect had a history of mental health problems and noted that she remained at the site of the attack without trying to flee.
A spokesperson for the U.S. embassy in Paris said the U.S. consulate in Marseille was in contact with French authorities.
U.S. authorities in France are not immediately commenting on what happened to protect the privacy of the American tourists, embassy spokesperson Alex Daniels said.
The four Americans were later identified as Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, Michelle Krug and Kelsey Kosten, all students at Boston College in Massachusetts.
The private Jesuit university said in a statement Sunday that the four female students were treated for burns at a Marseille hospital after they were sprayed in the face with acid on Sunday morning. The statement said the four all were juniors studying abroad, three of them at the college's Paris program.
The director of the college's Office of International Programs, Nick Gozik, said the women have been released from the hospital and "it appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances."
Marseille is a port city in southern France that is closer to Barcelona than Paris.
In previous incidents in Marseille, a driver deliberately rammed into two bus stops last month, killing a woman, but officials said it wasn't terror-related.
In April, French police said they thwarted an imminent "terror attack" and arrested two suspected radicals in Marseille just days before the first round of France's presidential election. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters the two suspects "were getting ready to carry out an imminent, violent action." In January 2016, a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd was arrested after attacking a Jewish teacher on a Marseille street. He told police he acted in the name of the Islamic State group.