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Expats put on terror alert after Marseille murders

By PA Reporters

British nationals in Marseille are being urged to take care after a knifeman killed two women at the city's main railway station.

The knife attacker shouted "Allahu akbar", Arabic for "God is great", according to witnesses.

France's Minister of the Interior Gerard Collomb, who said authorities did not know if the attack was a terrorist incident, added that police have video of yesterday's incident at Saint Charles station.

He said footage showed a man attacking one woman, running away, then coming back and attacking a second woman. He was later shot dead by soldiers.

Both victims died of their wounds.

The minister continued that the assailant ran toward soldiers who were rushing to the scene and was shot just outside the station. Police in Marseille were interviewing about 10 witnesses to the attack.

Mr Collomb declined to provide any details about the suspect or to identify the victims.

One woman was stabbed to death and the other woman's throat was slit, sources said.

The assailant was shot dead by soldiers who had been patrolling inside the station.

In a statement, the UK Foreign Office said: "Following an incident at Marseille St Charles train station we are advising British nationals in the vicinity to take care and follow the advice of the local security authorities."

French President Emmanuel Macron said he was "deeply outraged" by the "barbarous" knife attack. He also paid tribute to the French soldiers assigned to domestic security who, the President said, responded with cool heads and efficiency.

The French authorities this month decided to maintain the military force of 7,000 soldiers that was created to protect sensitive sites after the deadly extremist attacks of 2015 in Paris.

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe added his praise for the soldiers who shot the suspect and stopped the "killing frenzy".

He expressed condolences to the victims' families and concern for the residents of Marseille.

France has been a regular target for Islamic extremists.

In November 2015, 130 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks in the capital. Last year a gunman drove a truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 86 people.

Both attacks were claimed by Islamic State.

In January 2015 two brothers forced their way into the offices of the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

Armed with rifles and other weapons, they killed 12 people and injured 11 others. They were later shot dead by police.

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