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1 dead, 9 wounded in France after knife attack outside Lyon subway station

Police detained an Afghan man seeking asylum in France after one person was fatally stabbed and nine others injured Saturday outside a subway station in a suburb of Lyon, authorities said. The reason for the attack was unclear.

French police detained an Afghan man who had applied for asylum

French police secure the area after one person was found dead and multiple others wounded in a suspected knife attack near Lyon, France, on Saturday. (Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters)

Police detained an Afghan man seeking asylum in France after one person was fatally stabbed and nine others injured Saturday, authorities said.

A 19-year-old man died after being stabbed with a knife in the attack outside a subway station in the Lyon suburb of Villeurbanne.

The 33-year-old man from Afghanistan in custody has been living in a French centre for asylum-seekers, and held a temporary French residency card, authorities said. The suspect was first recorded in France in 2009, and subsequently traveled to Britain, Italy, Germany and Norway before returning to France in 2017.

The suspect provided contradictory information to police, but the attack in the town of Villeurbanne did not appear to be terrorism-related, the official told The Associated Press. The official was not authorized to be publicly named because of French government policy.

Villeurbanne Mayor Jean-Paul Bret told reporters that the detained man was the primary suspect and the only one suspected in the actual stabbing.

The mayor also called anti-migrant politicians "shameless" for seizing on the stabbings to push their views.

French far-right leader Marine Le Pen tweeted after the attack that "lax migration policy" threatens France's security.

France remains on high alert after several deadly extremist attacks in 2015 and 2016.

'Psychotic state'

Emergency services are at work near a bus in Villeurbanne on the outskirts of Lyon, south-eastern France on August 31, 2019, after a knife attack which has left one dead and six injured. (Philippe Desmazes/AFP/Getty Images )

The man was in a "psychotic state" and on drugs during the stabbing, but investigators haven't found any terrorist ties, a regional prosecutor said Sunday.

A psychiatric evaluation of the man in custody for Saturday's attack revealed he was experiencing "paranoid delirium," prosecutor Nicolas Jacquet said. The suspect reported he "heard voices" telling him to kill, according to Jacquet.

Passers-by surrounded and apprehended the assailant before police arrived, according to the prosecutor. He thanked them.

"Their courageous, responsible intervention was decisive," Jacquet told reporters.

A witness broadcaster BFMTV identified as Sofiane described trying to help people who were stabbed and rounding up others to go after the attacker.

After the stabbings, the suspect gave "incoherent" accounts and three different dates of birth to police, Jacquet said. The man was not publicly named.

The suspect was not on any radicalism watch list, Jacquet said.

Officers searched the suspect's residence as part of the investigation, and "nothing was found showing any kind of radicalization," he said.

The suspect had no police record or record of psychiatric problems, the prosecutor said. He was found with two knives but no other weapons.

Two of the eight people injured remained hospitalized. French police initially said nine people had injuries but the prosecutor said the total was eight. The reason for the discrepancy was unclear.

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